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Verizon prevents Galaxy Note 7 holdouts from making calls

There are 'thousands' still using the unsafe phone on the network.

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When Verizon rolled out an update that disabled charging on remaining Galaxy Note 7 devices, that was all she wrote for the fire-prone smartphone, right? Apparently not. The carrier informs Fortune that there are still "thousands" of people still using the Note 7 on its network, and that it's taking some extreme measures to make those users reconsider their ways. Most notably, it's going to reroute their calls -- anything that isn't an emergency call will go straight to Verizon customer service. Big Red also says it may bill Note 7 owners for the price of the phone, which could cut especially deep when those who've already returned their phones actually received money back.

Those affected will certainly know that something's up. Owners are reporting that they've received text messages telling them that their phone will stop working in late January (the dates vary), and that they'll be charged if they don't return the phone within as little as 5 days. It's not certain that Verizon can charge customers under US recall rules, but the provider appears bent on trying.

It's not immediately clear how these owners managed to evade the charging update. We've reached out to Verizon to see if it can elaborate on what's happening, and you can look below for its current statement acknowledging the holdouts. However, not all Note 7 users are keeping their devices out of stubbornness. Verizon is asking users to return the phones in their original boxes, but that's not always an option -- the carrier may be leaving some customers no choice but to pay for the phone even if they do take it in. While there are certainly people who outright refuse to turn in their handsets (we've seen a few hoping to spoof phone IDs), you can't paint all of them with the same broad brush.

"In spite of our best efforts, there are still customers using the recalled phones who have not returned or exchanged their Note 7 to the point of purchase. The recalled Note 7s pose a safety risk to our customers and those around them."

Verizon owns Engadget's parent company, Verizon Media. Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.

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