On Monday, Samsung started its exchange program for the Galaxy Note 7, giving owners of the smartphone in South Korea its back yard, the opportunity to replace their devices that are prone to start on fire.

This is the latest phase of its costly recall, said the largest maker of smartphones in the world, which stopped the rollout worldwide of its new flagship smartphone on September 2 after initial reports of the handset catching on fire.

Since then, Samsung has scrambled to recall as well as replace 2.5 million of the Note 7 devices after the risk of fire prompted warnings from a number of authorities not to use the product on buses, trains or planes.

In Seoul on Monday, demand for the devices appeared thin. Just a handful of owners of the Note 7 visited a service center during the day in the business district of the city.

Of the people visiting, only a few could exchange their phones. Certain customers have been turned away due to them purchasing the Note 7 from another location or through one of the online retailers.

The current exchange program rules require certain customers to return their smartphones to where they were purchased. Customers who that their phones activated first have been receiving priority, while others must wait.

Some people complained when turned away or when told they had to wait. They said it was time they had lost and the problem was not caused by them.

The battery problem with the Note 7 has affected just 0.1% of the Note 7s sold around the world since the debut in August. However, the recall wiped out billions of dollars worth of the market value of the company.

Samsung is planning to resume its sales of the Note 7 in South Korea beginning September 28 and then in other countries when the conditions will allow it.

Some customers across the globe have said they are frustrated at the response by the company during the current crisis.

Each time one user charges his phone he has to reach over and touch it to make sure it is not getting hot, he explained that this caused him to become very nervous during the recharging of the unit.

The recall problem caused Samsung to lose the advantage it had over Apple by launching the Note 7 a few weeks prior to the launch by Apple of its new iPhone 7.

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