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Sears Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Kenmore Washers May Cause Mold

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson
  • 64 Comments

An appeals court has cleared the way for a class action lawsuit to move forward against Sears over problems with Kenmore washing machines, alleging that design defects may cause the development of mold in the clothes washers. 

On November 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago overturned a lower court’s ruling that denied plaintiffs attempts to establish a Kenmore washer class action lawsuit against Sears, Roebuck and Co. The decision will allow the claim to go forward as a class action.

The class action seeks to cover consumers from six states who filed breach of warranty claims against the company, including those from California, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Texas.

According to allegations raised in the lawsuit, the Kenmore washing machines do not clean themselves properly, potentially resulting in mold growth. The affected washers were made by Whirlpool and sold by Sears under the Kenmore label.

There are about 200,000 Kenmore washers with the alleged mold problem sold each year, according to the appeal, and there have been many thousands of complaints involving bad odors reported by owners of the machines.

“Sears argues that most members of the plaintiff class did not experience a mold problem,” the appeals court stated in its opinion. “But if so that is an argument not for refusing to certify the class but for certifying it and then entering a judgment that will largely exonerate Sears – a course it should welcome, as all class members who did not opt out of the class action would be bound by the judgment.”

The court noted that every class member will have to prove they have an odor problem due to the washers in order to collect damages, but even those without a problem can still pursue breach of warranty claims in states that allow relief for “expected rather than for only realized harm” due to a product defect.

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Image Via Saferproducts.gov

64 comments

  1. Edmund Reply

    I noticed some mold growth , a blackish color
    The only way to remove it is with soaking a towel with
    bleach, and using a scotch brite to clean the rubber seal .
    I just assumed it was an acceptable practice for cleaning.
    Very noticeable if clothing is not removed after washing.Saw
    FB posting needed to complain.

  2. claudia Reply

    no wonder… even the liquid softener never have the nice sense…

  3. Victoria Reply

    I purchased my washer and dryer in 2006. I have kept the seal clean, used very hot water and bleach to run thru the cycle. My laundry room smells like a swamp. You need proof? Come over and smell it for yourself. The slime that builds up inside of the seal is gross and not that easy to clean.

  4. Herman Reply

    We noticed the mold in our dryer shortly after my husband was diagnosed with mold in his lungs. We called Sears and had them come out and replace the rubber seal. We have to clean it every time with a damp cloth followed by a dry towel. We still do.

  5. edith Reply

    I’ve purchased Kenmore from Sears. I have noticed mold and buildup in the pocket by the door. I have lost baby size socks during the wash. I think the tiny clothing get stuck around the washer drum. As for my dryer, I have to have the dryer run at least 1/2 an hour longer to dry my clothes. Therefore, the front load dryer is not saving energy.

  6. sandy Reply

    bought my whirlpool washer and dryer set in 2001. 4 or 5 years later went back to sears to ask about the smell the slime under the seal and scum that builds up on glass of door and seal was told I was not cleaning it correctly that not only should I dry out washer,scrub rubber seal and leave door open that I should be using a washer cleaner monthly. Started doing so but washer still stinks. Daughter saw article and said guess we are not the only ones. Read settlement and all I made out of it was that sears was going to make a lot of money. Never thought to save my grocery receipts for 10 years, didn’t keep record of people who looked at washer nor did I document the dates and times I talked with sears- my bad. I did have sears in to look at washer (84.93) to replace boot and fill valve a shocking (462.32) that means I will have to pay Sears 547.25 to clean up but not fix their problem. and they only offer to refund 500.00

  7. Marcus Reply

    i delt with that fungus problem for years. i heard on channel ll news in Houston Texas that sears was giving a rebate, but now I cannot find any thing.

  8. Betty Reply

    I purchased my Sears Washer and Dryer in 2006/2007. The slime in the washer is terrible. I am 72 years old now. I have cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and to this day I still have black slime in my washer. I am on a fixed income and cannot afford to replace this washer. I would like to join the class action lawsuit. Does anyone know how I can do this?

  9. Deb Reply

    Washer grows mold, no matter what I use to clean it. Also it rusting where the door leaks.

  10. beverly Reply

    my husband bought me the sears Kenmore elite set in 2014 and it has always had a terrible moldy,musty smell every load I wash.i use softetner extra tide and xtra water but the problem still exists.I called the 1-800 number and they told me straight up theres nothing they can help me with I just need to buy washer cleaner and let it run it’s cycle.I have still has not worked and my clothes still smell musty and stink straight from being washed.we paid almost $3,000.00 for this set and I am very upset it has never did the job it should.

  11. Annum Reply

    We have a 2006 Kenmore HE4t washer and dryer. We called Sears/Kenmore warranty line in 2006 and 2007 to complain about a musty smell, mold, and clothing getting stuck in the machine. We have also complained in person at the local Sears stores for years. We have never been able to get this problem resolved. Can we still join the class action lawsuit?

  12. David Reply

    Our washer has had a moldy musty smell almost from day 1 We had a tech out he showed us how we would have to clean our washer you got to be kidding its impossible to keep it clean even if you run the recommended cleaner it doesn’t work we have had our washer for 8.5 years any help would be great

  13. Barbara Reply

    I bought a Kenmore Front load washer on 6/25/2010 and I took out a three year insurance plan. In that three years several repairman came out said it was my problem. I needed to clean it once a month I needed to wipe the rubble ring out every time I use it. The mold was all over my clothes I had to keep the door always open to keep the smell down. I paid $800.00 for that machine and it has ruined many of my clothes and if you catch the stains before you put them in the dryer you might be able to get them out but if you don’t you have to throw the clothes away. I hate this washer but can’t afford another one. I was told not to use liquid or downy. I tried everything but it still leaves black marks from mold on my clothes. Sears won’t admit the machine has a problem. Model number 796-40272900

  14. baxter Reply

    model mle2000ayw
    serial 78238755et
    purchased 12/22/2004
    maytag-neptune stacked washer/dryer
    continuous black mold on rubber gasket, smelly odor, black smudges on clothing after washes. Nothing seems to help.

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