Last week, consumers filed a class action suit against South Korean electronics giant, Samsung. The plaintiffs accuse the company of concealing a defect that causes one of the three rear camera glass lenses to shatter unexpectedly.
The models of Galaxy S20 phones—which were launched in February 2020—involved are: Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, Galaxy S20+ 5G, Galaxy S20 5G, Galaxy S20 Ultra/LTE, Galaxy S20 FE and Galaxy S20 FE 5G.
According to the claim, a spontaneous shattering of the back camera glass occurs with just regular use; the damage occurred when no excessive or external force was applied. Moreover, the defect has occurred even with a protective case.
Plaintiff attorneys say the defect first started being reported just days after the Samsung Galaxy S20 went on sale. The defect was reported on Samsung’s community Web site. The complaint details several consumer reports involving similar experiences with the smart phones.
This isn’t the first time previous Samsung models of smartphones have had this defect, according to the complaint. And when the shattering of the lens occurs, a “bullet-hole pattern” is visible.
The Galaxy S20 is regarded as an upscale model with a highly-advanced, ‘professional’ grade camera. The cost of the model retails for approximately $1,000 and up.
“During a time of social distancing and increased use of online access, consumers are especially in need of a reliable mobile device, yet Samsung has refused to deliver the reliability it promised its customers,” Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and attorney for the plaintiffs, said in the class-action.
Plaintiffs allege that Samsung refuses to cover the issue under its warranty. The cost of returning the phone back to Samsung to investigate the issue is $400. If a consumer purchased insurance, the cost is $100 to repair the shattered glass.
Some consumers have experienced the defect on more than one occasion. In addition, in order to have the defect fixed in a more timely manner, consumers have paid more out of pocket to have the device fixed at a third-party electronics repair store.
Following hundreds of online reports of the spontaneous shattered, cracked and broken rear camera glass in the Galaxy S20, Samsung acknowledged the defect and admitted consumers were not at fault, reports a South African technology news website.
Despite the acknowledgement by Samsung that the issue was caused not by consumers but rather a “single identifiable cause,” attorneys for consumers claim Samsung still failed to initiate a recall, and continues to deny customer warranty claims, and that Samsung has failed to offer a meaningful solution to the issue.
Samsung’s online consumer forum may have revealed the underlying cause of the defect. In one post on the forum, a Samsung care ambassador stated: “This happened to one of our ambassadors. After many complaints about the issue, we found out that it has to do with pressure build up underneath the glass and not customers banging it against something.”
Per ITWeb, the complaint included several consumer anecdotes, such as: “I set it down on a wood table and picked it back up and something happened. I called Samsung and they wanted me to send my phone in and they would fix it but that would take up to two weeks. I bought the protection plan on it but they are giving me the runaround and still haven’t done anything.”
Another consumer alleges, “Out of nowhere, I looked at my camera and the glass is cracked. I didn’t even drop it.”
Yet another consumer asserts, “Within less than a week, my glass on the camera has broken. Phone has always been in a case and not dropped…There is absolutely no reason this should of [sic] happened. The camera is the reason I decided on the S20 Plus. This will be my last S phone.”
The class action was filed in the US District Court New Jersey. Plaintiffs are seeking repayment for the repairs and other damages they suffered due to Samsung’s widespread design defect and warranty breaches. The suit also seeks compensation for affected consumers regarding a loss of value in the product.
ITNews reports that Samsung’s revenue in 2020 exceeded $200 billion when the Galaxy S20 was released. In the first quarter of that year, Samsung captured 20% of the global smartphone market share.