Product warranty, Samsung style

December 10, 2013: 8:27 AM ET

Will replace a Galaxy S4 that caught fire, but only in return for the owner's silence.

Wygand with burned-out Galaxy S4

Wygand with burned-out Galaxy S4

FORTUNE -- One difference between Apple (AAPL) and Samsung is how they handle customer complaints.

When a Chinese flight attendant died last summer, apparently by electrocution from an iPhone plugged into a third-party charger, Apple did three things:

  • It offered its condolences,
  • It promised to investigate,
  • It launched a worldwide USB Power Adapter Takeback Program, offering to replace any non-Apple USB power adapters with one of its own for a little less than half off ($10 rather than $19).

When Richard Wygand, a Canadian racing enthusiast, complained to Samsung that his Galaxy S4 caught fire while charging overnight, the company asked for video proof.

Fair enough.

But when Wygand posted the video on his GhostlyRich YouTube channel and tweeted about it, the company offered to replace the phone (which was still under warranty) with a similar model only if...

  • Wygand removed the video and didn't repost it,
  • Promised not to issue any more statements about the incident,
  • Signed the form attached below irrevocably releasing Samsung from any claims by Wygand, his successors, his associates or his servants.

Wygand, accustomed to Apple's product warranty policies -- and hoping perhaps to boost his YouTube viewership -- declined the offer and instead went public, posting a second video last week:

[Thanks to BGR's Zach Epstein for spotting it. The statement Samsung gave Business Insider: "Samsung takes the safety and security of our customers very seriously. Our Samsung Canada team is in touch with the customer and is investigating the issue."]

Below: Samsung's form (with names etc. removed). Apple has also been known to require a signee's silence, and its legal boilerplate is, if anything, even denser and more inscrutable. But it usually doesn't mention "servants."


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