KARACHI: Less than a month after it was released in the international market, Sam­sung’s most expensive smart­phone line or “phablets” have bombed or rather earned a bad reputation after people reported cases of their Galaxy Note 7 smartphones exploding unexpectedly.

The company issued an offi­cial statement urging customers to stop using the Note 7 immediately and have reca­lled the model from the market.

However, in Pakistan, this is not the case.

While the Galaxy Note 7 was unveiled on Aug 12 and released all over the world a week later — it has not been officially launched in Pakis­tan. However, it is available in markets here without a warranty and was “brought over in hand baggage or through the khaipia (smuggler)”.

The smartphone which costs between Rs85,000 and Rs88,000 apiece here, is surprisingly out-of-stock in mobile shops in DHA, Zamzama and Abdullah Haroon Road. Still most shop owners are not willing to admit that the model is faulty or people are unwilling to buy the Note 7 due to bad reviews and the exploding battery issue.

“Oh come on, these are just rumours started somewhere in America to hurt Samsung’s sales by those prompting the upcoming iPhone 7,” said Mohammad Akbar at a shop in Zamzama. “Earlier, the iPhone 6 earned bad reviews too because they said that it could bend and lose shape.”

Shabbir Qadri, a shopkeeper in DHA’s Khadda Market, said that he had sold 11 phone sets earlier, and was happy to report that none of his customers had returned them so far.

“Hopefully, they won’t be influenced by the media and not bring them back to me as it will be difficult to convince the smuggler, who we got the phones from, to take them back,” he said.

“It could be done but would involve a lot of effort as the company has announced it is taking the phones back and he [the smuggler] may return them to whichever country they were bought from in the first place,” he added.

“This cannot be done in Pakistan because Samsung didn’t even launch the phone here,” pointed out a saleswoman at the Samsung store on Chartered Accountants Avenue in Clifton.

A salesman at Hyperstar said that since they dealt with the companies directly, they haven’t sold any and weren’t planning on selling the phone till it was properly launched in Pakistan by Samsung. Meanwhile, shopkeepers on Abdullah Haroon Road said that they didn’t have the phone but could find a “fresh sealed piece if the customer could wait for an hour or two”.

“I think the octa-core phones have no issues but the snapdragon phones are explo­ding,” said one shopkeeper, adding “don’t worry, we will get you a snapdragon Note 7”.

Arsalan, another shopkeeper, claimed that there had been a case of an exploding battery in one of the shops.

“In one of the shops here they were charging a phone after they made the sale and it just exploded,” he said, adding that he would not sell a Note 7 to anyone even if they found smuggled phones because he didn’t want to risk any customer coming back with complaints.

“It will be a ghatay ka sauda [bad deal], which we don’t want to get ourselves involved in,” he explained. “If something goes wrong, the company here isn’t going to take it back since they never released it here.”

Published in Dawn September 13th, 2016

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