The torrent of class action lawsuits Samsung is expected to face over the Galaxy Note 7 fires has apparently started already if a new report coming out of South Korea is anything to go by. According to Associated Press (AP), 527 former Galaxy Note 7 owners in Samsung’s home country have filed a lawsuit against the company demanding compensation for financial losses and psychological distress caused by the entire episode that dragged on for weeks before the device was finally scrapped for good earlier this month. The plaintiffs are initially seeking a compensation of only 500,000 won ($442) per person, but their attorney, Mr. Peter Young-Yeel Ko, said that the claims could increase at a later date.
At least one of the litigants is said to have lost “thousands of pictures” from a family vacation when his Galaxy Note 7 blew up, while another person had to take an eight-hour round trip just to return the unsafe phone. Thankfully for Samsung, however, the concept of punitive damages is not a part of the South Korean judicial system, so the company will likely get away without having to pay out the big bucks, which is what industry insiders fear might happen in the U.S. According to Mr. Ko, he himself is one of the unhappy Galaxy Note 7 customers who has had to visit a Samsung retail outlet three times since buying the device back in August, but is still waiting for a full refund from the company.
A 26-year old engineer who is one of the 527 plaintiffs, has another harrowing tale to tell. Mr. Kim Chae Yong claims to have driven about 300 kilometers (185 miles) from his hometown of Cheonan in the northeast corner of the country to the southeastern metropolis of Busan to return his Galaxy Note 7 after Samsung initiated the original recall last month. In the process, he says he spent almost $100 on just gas and highway tolls in the course of his eight-hour drive. As a loyal Samsung customer, Mr. Young now says he feels betrayed at the company's perfunctory after-sales service and does not want to use another Samsung product ever again. It remains to be seen how this plays out in the long run, but whichever way the cookie crumbles, Samsung may have a tough time trying to regain public trust.