There are reportedly still thousands of Verizon Wireless customers using the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which was discontinued shortly after its unveiling last year when at least 140 of the devices overheated or caught fire. Verizon is now stepping its efforts up a notch by redirecting non-emergency phone calls made by the potentially explosive Note 7 to Verizon customer service.
“In spite of our best efforts, there are still customers using the recalled phones who have not returned or exchanged their Note 7 to the point of purchase,” a Verizon spokesperson told Fortune yesterday. “The recalled Note 7s pose a safety risk to our customers and those around them.”
From now on, “all outgoing calls not directed toward the 911 emergency service will only connect to customer service,” the report said. “Because Note 7 users have also already been reimbursed for the cost of the long-since recalled Note 7, Verizon is also saying it might bill the holdouts for the full retail cost of the phone.”
Samsung issued a phone update last month to prevent Note 7s from charging, essentially disabling them. Verizon initially decided not to pass along the update because it didn’t want to prevent customers from making calls in emergencies, but it later decided to issue the update after all. About 93 percent of the Samsung devices across all carriers had been returned as of a month ago.
Though most Note 7 devices have been returned, “The holdout Note 7 lovers somehow avoided the killer upgrade and are still using their relatively dangerous smartphones,” Fortune said.
The new change redirecting non-emergency calls will apparently work even on phones that haven’t received the update, suggesting that it’s been implemented entirely at the network level. We’ve asked Verizon for more details on how this process works and will provide an update if we get one.