Samsung hoped to suppress the news that one of its S4 phones caught fire and has created for itself a PR nightmare. Video footage of a Galaxy S4 that caught fire while charging appeared on YouTube.
YouTube user GhostlyRich posted a video on YouTube in early December. While the battery did not explode, the charging port was burnt.
This bricked the phone and seeing that the phone is still under warranty, you would think Samsung would simply exchange the device.
Samsung however made the mistake of sending the user a stiff missive saying that it will exchange his defective device only after he pulled his initial video from YouTube.
Besides the fact that it is very difficult to stop a viral video even after it has been pulled, it seems that Samsung missed the whole “if you cock up don’t threaten your customers thing”.
It also forgot that there are shedloads of Apple fanboys, and a Tame Apple Press which would be keen to run a story like this to prove the technical superiority of their favourite gadget.
The advice to Samsung is that if something like this happens in the future you could get good PR from it just by being nice. Most people accept that gear goes wrong, but if a company handles you well, all can be forgiven. In fact you might even get good press out of it.
However if your toy breaks and you behave like a bastard you tend to get this sort of story written.
The original YouTube video, at the time of this posting, had 45,000 views and the video showing the Samsung demand letter, has more than 761,000 views.