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Samsung could lose Galaxy Fold pre-orders if it doesn't ship this month

The phone sold out in the US, but has been delayed indefinitely.
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For a short while, the future looked rosy for the Samsung Galaxy Fold: so many people pre-ordered the $1,980 foldable smartphone that the company had to stop taking registrations as they'd sold out.

Then, multiple faults and failures hit the review devices the company had seeded to media and influencers, causing it to recall the lot and delay the launch indefinitely. Worse, iFixit posted a teardown calling the phone "alarmingly fragile" and Samsung had it pulled.

Over a week after the phone was supposed to launch, Samsung still hasn't been able to provide an update on either the handset or the ship date, which means those pre-orders are now on shaky ground. The FTC's distance selling regulations dictate that a company has to ship its devices either within the time it stated, or if it didn't state a time, within 30 days. If it cannot, it has to get the customer's consent to the delay or cancel the pre-order.

In Samsung's case, this means it has to ship or gain consent to the delay by May 31st to retain the order.

Unsurprisingly keen to save all those sales, the company has written to customers asking them to reaffirm their purchases. If they do so before the May 31st deadline, Samsung will keep the order open until they're able to ship the troubled device.

However, the email also reiterated (in fluffy, pseudo-positive PR terms) that the company has no updates on progress with the redesign or any estimation of a revised ship date. Not encouraging, and very few people are likely to be willing or able to keep a $2k order hanging in the air.

Then again, Tesla had a similar issue with refunded pre-orders for the Model 3, which costs $35k, and that has now launched successfully.

Although the Galaxy Fold was never supposed to be a significant part of the world's largest smartphone manufacturer's lineup -- 1 million of its 300 million handsets -- the very public failure of review devices has caused negative publicity which has inevitably reminded consumers of the Galaxy Note 7 debacle. Whether Samsung can pull off a recovery as it did with its exploding phones, we'll find out in the next few weeks.

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