There's less than a day remaining until the official Galaxy S8 reveal, but Samsung has still managed to shoot itself in the foot at the last minute: a Singaporean man was recently denied a replacement to his faulty Galaxy S7 edge unless he waived his rights to publicly criticize Samsung, including in complaints posted to social media. Or in other words, the company appears to be extorting its customers so as not to repeat the Note 7 fiasco, by essentially threatening to sue people who sign the NDA and then complain about receiving a defective phone.
The story began on February 23, when a Singaporean man had his phone overheat and then completely fail just six days after it was purchased. When he went to exchange his device with Samsung, however, he was handed an agreement, which states:
By accepting the Mobile Device, you agree not to directly or indirectly (including anonymously or by pseudonym) make, issue, release, disseminate, publish or re-publish to the media (including without limitation, Facebook, Twitter, or in any other way on the internet) or to any person or entity any statement, comment or remark that would tend to disparage, derogate, criticize, embarrass or humiliate Samsung (including, Samsung products, services, employees, agents or executives).
After refusing to sign, the man was reportedly denied a phone exchange. He wrote an email to Samsung, who responded that they'll be looking into it, but never wrote back. A month after that, on March 24, the customer wrote on Samsung Mobile Singapore's Facebook page, where he received an answer that the agreement was "standard".
The agreement's language is particularly interesting, as it claims the device exchange is "a gesture of goodwill" on Samsung's part, even though the smartphone itself was under warranty, which explicitly covers cases such as this one. In any case, it's obvious that the company's actions here are a particularly heavy-handed attempt at preventing another media storm like the one surrounding the fiery Note 7. However, it does seem Samsung has invoked the Streisand Effect on itself, and at a particularly inconvenient time, too.
Curiously enough, this is the second incident involving Samsung and Singapore today, with the previous one being a company store catching fire, though we're sure this is just a freak coincidence. It's not yet known for how long the company has been forcing customers to sign agreements, and whether such behavior is limited to Singapore only, so we'll keep you updated when we find out more.
Samsung refuses to exchange device unless customer signs an NDA