Samsung Electronics Co.’s reputation among U.S. consumers crumbled after the Galaxy Note 7’s recall and eventual abolition unearthed flaws in the Korean company’s product safeguards.
The world’s largest phone maker’s reputation among the American general public took a huge hit, diving to 49th from seventh in the latest Harris Poll rankings of the 100 most visible corporations. Rival Apple Inc. dropped to No. 5 after ranking second in the 2016 poll, while Amazon.com Inc. remained first for a second straight year.
“Samsung’s recent product safety challenges take their toll (particularly around social responsibility),” according to the report. The annual survey, which has been conducted since 1999, was based on interviews in September and October of last year with more than 4,000 adults.
The Galaxy maker pulled its Note 7 smartphone off shelves last year after a series of reports about the devices bursting into flame, before ultimately killing off the entire line. That debacle cost the Suwon-based company an estimated $6 billion and dealt a severe blow to the company just as the competitive holiday season was getting underway.
The crisis was a public relations fiasco for South Korea’s biggest company. Reports of people injured by exploding Note 7s raced around the web, while nervous airlines banned the gadget from planes. The company this year cited flaws in battery manufacturing and design for the debacle and took full legal responsibility.
Samsung is also dealing with the arrest of de facto leader and Vice Chairman Lee Jae-Yong, who has been mired in a political corruption scandal transfixing South Korea. His detention came after the Harris Poll interviews were conducted.
By Jungah Lee