Samsung Galaxy 7 and the 5 Most Costly Product Recalls (SSNLF)


Costly Product Recalls

As Samsung is quickly discovering, product recalls are a costly headache that requires a company to refund its customers' money, give them replacements and hope that the problem doesn't worsen in the interim. Here are some of the most notorious product recalls of all time.

Pfizer Inc.

In its fourth such settlement in seven years, Pfizer agreed in 2009 to pay $2 billion in civil fines and a $1.3 billion criminal penalty for illegally marketing the painkiller Bextra and other drugs. According to the New York Times, the total fine was less than three weeks of sales for Pfizer. The company invited doctors to all-expenses-paid luxury conferences and advised them that Bextra – originally approved for arthritis and menstrual cramps – could be prescribed at high doses to treat post-operative and other severe pain. It was never found to be more effective than Advil, and associated with heart and skin side-effects. It withdrawn in 2005.

Takata Corp. Airbags

Takata has recalled nearly 300 million airbag inflators as of September 2016, following reports that nine people have died after being hit by metal and plastic shrapnel from the faulty components. The Japanese company announced in March 2016 that its worst-case costs could exceed 2.7 trillion yen, or around $26 billion.

Merck & Co. Vioxx

Choosing to ignore indications that the painkiller could be harmful, Merck sold Vioxx for five years before agreeing to take it off the market in 2004. By that time it had caused perhaps 55,000 deaths due to increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The company is still involved in litigation as of September 2016, and estimates of total costs are hard to come by. Our estimate of $8.9 billion comes from the $4.85 billion settlement and $1.9 billion in legal costs it paid in 2007, followed by $58 million in 2008, $950 million in 2011 and $1.06 billion – initially reported as $830 million – in 2016.

Volkswagen AG Emissions Scandal

Volkswagen is faced with the prospect of fixing 11 million cars worldwide after it emerged in 2015 that some diesel models' software had been programmed to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels during emissions testing. As soon as the test was over, NOx emissions shot back up to as much as 40 times the U.S. legal limit (standards are lower in Europe). Volkswagen has set aside 6.5 billion euros (around $7.3 billion) to cover the recall, acknowledging that that amount might not be sufficient when all costs are tallied.  

Toyota Cars

Between 2009 and 2011, Toyota recalled more than 10 million vehicles due to incidents of unintended acceleration that killed 37 people. Some of the incidents were found to involve driver error, others to an ill-fitting floor mat that led to the gas pedal to get stuck. Mechanical and electrical errors may also have been involved. The company estimated $2.1 billion in recall costs and lost sales in 2010. In 2012 it agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle a class action suit related to the acceleration issues. That brings its total costs to $3.2 billion.


Producers of consumer goods can only do so much to ensure that products will be used safely and responsibly. While consumers need to read the warning labels and use common sense, there always remains the potential for error. Today's products are unquestionably less harmful than those of previous generations, but the idea of a 100% safe marketplace of goods will continue to exist only in theory.
  1. No results found.
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Best Buy Will Pay $3.8 Million in Penalties (BBY)

    Best Buy was selling recalled products. Details and analysis here.
  2. Investing

    A Food Recall's Diminishing Effect on Stock Prices (KHC, CMG)

    A look at how the stock prices of companies in the food industry react during times of a recall.
  3. Investing

    Sprint CEO: Samsung Recall Will Soon Be In the Past (S)

    Sprint's CEO doesn't think Samsung recall will have a lasting impact on Samsung's brand.
  4. Investing

    Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 Recall Is Facing Problems In South Korea

    Customers in South Korea are complaining that the replacement Note 7 phones are overheating. Samsung says this is an unrelated issue to the exploding phones problem.
  5. Investing

    China Accuses Samsung Of "Arrogance" For Note 7 Recall

    The Chinese State TV said Samsung was "full or arrogance" and discriminating against Chinese consumers in its handling of the Galaxy Note 7 recall in the country.
  6. Investing

    T-Mobile to Sell Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 (TMUS)

    T-Mobile will begin selling the Galaxy Note 7 again after a massive recall on the part of Samsung.
  7. Insights

    Samsung Will Pay You to Replace the Galaxy Note 7 With a Samsung Phone (AAPL, GOOG)

    Samsung has announced it will offer a $100 bill credit to Galaxy Note 7 owners willing to exchange their phone for another Samsung model.
  8. Investing

    T-Mobile Kills Remaining Samsung Galaxy Note 7s

    T-Mobile is the first U.S. wireless carrier to push an update that 'bricks' the recalled devices.
  9. Investing

    Samsung to Reveal Cause of Exploding Phones Monday

    The company will hold a press conference to detail results of its investigation into the causes behind its exploding smartphones.
  10. Investing

    Exploding Samsung Phones Caused by Battery

    Samsung wants to put the exploding battery issue, which prompted one of the largest electronics recalls in history, behind it.
Trading Center