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Samsung sued over Galaxy S20 'bullet hole glass' defect

Samsung Galaxy S20 Series All Three
Samsung Galaxy S20 Series All Three (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Samsung is being sued for a camera defect in S20 series phones.
  • Lawyers say Samsung did not disclose this defect.
  • Samsung being charged for fraud, breach of warranty, and violations of consumer-protection laws.

Customers are suing Samsung for not disclosing a defect that caused Samsung Galaxy S20 smartphone cameras to shatter unexpectedly.

Despite paying a high premium price for the phone, Samsung "refuses to cover the issue under its warranty," according to the lawsuit filed by attorneys at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. The lawsuit was filed on April 27 and accuses Samsung of fraud, breach of warranty, and violations of several consumer-protection laws.

The defect affects the back camera module's glass covering that "shatters" randomly without any force placed on it, even if the phone is protected by the best Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra cases. The shatter leaves a prominent "bullet hole" pattern.

The lawsuit added that consumers still have to pay $400 to send the phone back to Samsung to investigate the issue or pay $100 if the consumer purchased the Samsung care device insurance.

"Samsung sold its Galaxy S20 as a high-end option for consumers, with a 'professional' grade camera, charging upwards of $1,600 per device, only to have them suddenly lose a major aspect of their functionality," Steve Berman, managing partner at Hagens Berman, said.

Berman, who is also the attorney representing the consumers in the case, said that this issue had caused duress to people during the pandemic when they need a reliable mobile device, "yet Samsung has refused to deliver the reliability it promised its customers."

In 2020, Samsung's revenue was more than $200 billion, and in Q1 2020 captured 20% of the global smartphone market share.

Samsung did indicate that this issue happened to one of its ambassadors and acknowledged the issue was "rooted in a single identifiable cause and attributable to Samsung." But the lawsuit indicated that the company failed to initiate a recall.

The lawsuit calls for Samsung to pay for repairs and other damages faced due to the design defect and warranty breaches.

"The suit also seeks compensation for affected customers regarding a loss of value in the product," it said.

Affected products include smartphones in the Galaxy S20 lineup, including the Galaxy S20 FE. If you own one of these smartphones, click here to learn more about the lawsuit and your rights.

Shruti Shekar
Shruti Shekar

Shruti Shekar is Android Central's senior reporter and also the second Canadian on the team. She was born in India, brought up in Singapore, but now lives in Toronto and couldn't be happier. She started her journalism career as a political reporter in Ottawa, Canada's capital, and then made her foray into tech journalism at MobileSyrup and most recently at Yahoo Finance Canada. When work isn't on her mind, she loves working out, reading thrillers, watching the Raptors, and planning what she's going to eat the next day.

2 Comments
  • First I've heard of this... But it it's a manufacturing or design defect, it should be covered by the warranty. End of.
  • Recall? Not really, a recall is usually saved for a dangerous situation (like phone fires from batteries...something they know a lot about. (Unless emissions related in a vehicle.)
    However, a letter to ALL Samdung S20 series owners that the warranty is extended for this problem would be a nice gesture.
    However, took a few hot phones before Samdung did a recall for those flaming batteries.