Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Samsung Accused of Trying to Silence Report of GS4 Fire

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 46 comments

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a smokin' phone

Last week, YouTube user GhostlyRich posted a video to the video sharing site claiming his Samsung Galaxy S4 had caught fire. GhostlyRich, real name Richard Wygand, said that he didn't do anything out of the ordinary with his phone. He plugged the device in to charge via a Samsung-issued charger and went to sleep. He woke up to smoke and saw that the phone's charging port, case, and back plate were melted.

Credit: GhostlyRichCredit: GhostlyRich 
Wygand said that his provider, Rogers, told him to take the phone back to Samsung. Before it would replace the phone, Samsung apparently asked for proof in the form of a video. Unfortunately, it seems Samsung would rather not share that proof with the rest of the world. Wygand posted his video proof to YouTube and sent a link to Samsung. Now, Samsung says it will only replace the device if Wygand takes his video down and promises not to discuss the incident any further.

Galaxy S4 Fire Letter

The letter, which has been posted to PasteBin, also prohibits Mr. Wygand and his family from talking about the settlement or pursuing further action relating to the incident. Samsung has not commented on Wygand's decision to release the letter.

Released in the spring of this year, the Galaxy S4 was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in March. It packs a quad-core CPU, Adreno 320 graphics, a 5-inch display, 2 GB of RAM, up to 64 GB of storage and a 2600 mAh Li-ion battery.

Follow Jane McEntegart @JaneMcEntegart. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Display 46 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    Benthon , December 9, 2013 10:58 AM
    One does not simply delete something from the internet. How many examples of this does it take before companies learn this?
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    jimmysmitty , December 9, 2013 10:46 AM
    I have a S4 and have charged it every night and the thing never gets warm. It doesn't even get very warm when playing a intensive game on it.

    I hope the guy gets a new one but unless this is as wide spread as the Dell batteries was years ago, it could be a one time manufacture incident and that is bound to happen.
  • 20 Hide
    Benthon , December 9, 2013 10:58 AM
    One does not simply delete something from the internet. How many examples of this does it take before companies learn this?
  • 7 Hide
    unimatrixalpha , December 9, 2013 11:08 AM
    Battery exploding into "molten lava"? LOL, this guy exaggerates way too much.
  • -6 Hide
    unimatrixalpha , December 9, 2013 11:11 AM
    Battery exploding into "molten lava"? LOL, this guy exaggerates way too much.
  • -3 Hide
    shardey , December 9, 2013 11:21 AM
    Is this like the Apple articles where the person used a 3rd party charger? Also, it really helps to let your phone charge while not using it, especially gaming.
  • -6 Hide
    JD88 , December 9, 2013 11:31 AM
    I think the intelligence of this guy is pretty well summed up by this video.

    A year and a half on my S3 and I haven't had a single issue with the hardware.

    Any phone from any company can have a one time problem. This is a lot different than the iPhone and Xbox issues hes talking about due to the nature of the problem.
  • -4 Hide
    Dragoic , December 9, 2013 11:35 AM
    Why Samsung. Just why?

    I used to dislike Apple (Not hate). But surely this change my view a whole lot. Nokia, take my money and give me back a revamped version of either a 3310 or 3510i.
  • 6 Hide
    jezus53 , December 9, 2013 11:43 AM
    Quote:
    sgs 1 no gps.
    sgs 3 sudden death syndrom (and warranty not covering it if you change your rom).
    sgs 4 catching fire (maybe they want to increase the income of the movie).

    and you are calling an iphone owner an idiot? lol who is the idiot now?
    i can't wait for the sgs 5 suprise maybe it will blow up in your pants and you will lose a leg and stop buying million of their phones, after the sgs 1 i did not buy any of their product.


    I seem to remember an incident where the iphone had problems with call signal and the solution was the user was holding the phone wrong. Yeah, the iphone is free of problems that's for sure.
  • 7 Hide
    vmem , December 9, 2013 11:51 AM
    Quote:
    I think the intelligence of this guy is pretty well summed up by this video.

    A year and a half on my S3 and I haven't had a single issue with the hardware.

    Any phone from any company can have a one time problem. This is a lot different than the iPhone and Xbox issues hes talking about due to the nature of the problem.


    the guy's just pissed, not stupid (as demonstrated by READING and COMPREHENDING a legal document and making a conscious decision about the proper course of action to take)

    as for defective products, yes, I agree any electronic product in general may have a problem. and no, this should not be treated differently. Samsung can tell you to take the youtube video down etc etc, that's fine. but asking someone to sign away all their rights to talk about the incident BEFORE even sending a replacement is utterly unacceptable. I've tried iphones in the past, I'm big on android now, but I have never seen this kind of behavior from a major electronic company as acceptable. and honestly, you shouldn't either
  • 1 Hide
    pmstroex , December 9, 2013 12:05 PM
    I don't see a molten battery in that pic or video. Usually this kind of damage is caused by moisture or liquid damage to the connector, seen it often enough (i fix these things for a living). Could also be he's roughing the connector, damaging the pins in the process, takes a bit of effort but have seen tons of those as well. That would be out of warranty then, seems to me he's trying to pull a fast one.
  • 3 Hide
    house70 , December 9, 2013 12:09 PM
    Isolated incidents can and will happen with any electronic device (any component is prone to failure at some point); NO company is immune, and if you think otherwise, I have a bridge to sell to you, st379.

    That being said, this reaction from the company is not normal, and the customer did well in revealing that. Someone at Samsung's service dropped the ball (I can't remember reading anything about a general policy like this being in place) and he/she should be fired.
  • 1 Hide
    Bloob , December 9, 2013 12:12 PM
    Judging from the comments here, Samsung astroturfing is going strong. It's not about the phone breaking (although the way it did was dangerous), it's about how Samsung reacted to it.

    Well, assuming things are as they are told.
  • -2 Hide
    jimmysmitty , December 9, 2013 12:18 PM
    Quote:
    I don't see a molten battery in that pic or video. Usually this kind of damage is caused by moisture or liquid damage to the connector, seen it often enough (i fix these things for a living). Could also be he's roughing the connector, damaging the pins in the process, takes a bit of effort but have seen tons of those as well. That would be out of warranty then, seems to me he's trying to pull a fast one.


    It could also be due to a short in the wall socket or USB port he plugged it into. I would like to see the actual cable he used to charge it with as he says its an official Samsung charger but there are no pics or anything of him showing it in the video at all. For all we know he used the Samsung cable but a different block or the Samsung block but s different cable or had a short.

    The RRoD on the 360 was a massive issue. It wasn't one or two incidents, it was massive. A large chunk of people had the issue. The iPhone 4 issue with the signal was pretty much every phone if a person held it a certain way.

    Of course Microsoft and Apple would jump to replace/fix those issues, of course MS only did it if the 360 was within its warranty period and Apples solution was a free case.
  • 2 Hide
    JD88 , December 9, 2013 12:28 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    I think the intelligence of this guy is pretty well summed up by this video.

    A year and a half on my S3 and I haven't had a single issue with the hardware.

    Any phone from any company can have a one time problem. This is a lot different than the iPhone and Xbox issues hes talking about due to the nature of the problem.


    the guy's just pissed, not stupid (as demonstrated by READING and COMPREHENDING a legal document and making a conscious decision about the proper course of action to take)

    as for defective products, yes, I agree any electronic product in general may have a problem. and no, this should not be treated differently. Samsung can tell you to take the youtube video down etc etc, that's fine. but asking someone to sign away all their rights to talk about the incident BEFORE even sending a replacement is utterly unacceptable. I've tried iphones in the past, I'm big on android now, but I have never seen this kind of behavior from a major electronic company as acceptable. and honestly, you shouldn't either


    The major issue I see with it is that the vast majority of these cases are people trying to make a stink in order to get money. If the phone did actually malfunction it typically results from using unsupported batters or chargers or some of the other issues jimmysmitty mentioned.

    No one can blame Samsung for trying to avoid a frivolous lawsuit along with PR trouble for something that likely resulted from either user error or intentional tampering. This is a lot different than a simple phone malfunction in which a replacement would be issued immediately since there is legal risk here if the person in question claims some sort of damages. Also, why would someone post a video to YouTube about the incident before they informed Samsung unless they were trying to get attention? That's likely why Samsung went to red alert.
  • 0 Hide
    glasssplinter , December 9, 2013 12:31 PM
    If you read elsewhere they show the actual charger and cable which appears to be all factory Samsung. Pretty stupid move by samsung, you would think that if everything is legit, they would just send him a brand new phone with some promo items so he promotes the response that he got after the first video. Just not sure why companies try to cover stuff up for so long, admit the problem and say what you're going to do to fix it.
  • 3 Hide
    coolitic , December 9, 2013 1:11 PM
    Samsung is starting to lose moral reputation. But seriously though, who cares if 1 phone out of so many randomly caught on fire? People are mad now because they tried to take it down.
  • 0 Hide
    damianrobertjones , December 9, 2013 1:24 PM
    I love how the article turns into an advert right at the end,
    "Released in the spring of this year, the Galaxy S4 was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in March. It packs a quad-core CPU, Adreno 320 graphics, a 5-inch display, 2 GB of RAM, up to 64 GB of storage and a 2600 mAh Li-ion battery."
  • 4 Hide
    ircluzar , December 9, 2013 1:27 PM
    Listen up people, this is simple: Every electronic device you own can have a flaw, wether it's from samsung, apple, google or anyone. Even your toaster can catch fire. These things are not perfect and they can be defective, even in great numbers. The issue here is not a problem about the defectiveness of these electronic devices, it's about the way that samsung wants to mute its angry customers. Instead of bullshitting its customers these forms, it could have gifted its customers with brand new phones and a little card saying "we're sorry, here's a brand new phone". Hell, if their devices were found out to be less defective (in rate) than apple's, they could even use that as a selling point. It frustrates me to see how many people here cannot make the difference between technological issues and morality issues.
  • 0 Hide
    kensingtron , December 9, 2013 1:43 PM
    The same thing happens on occasion with most/all electronic devices even the Iphone (google it) One incident in millions of units is pretty good. The problem looks like a micro usb issue.
Display more comments