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A growing number of consumers are pursuing lawsuits over a recent Samsung washing machine recall, indicating that they are being steered away from refunds or being offered very little for their expensive washers. In addition, many homeowners are complaining that a so-called “repair” option for the recalled washing machines is essentially just a sticker slapped on their machines, which blocks the higher-powered settings and leaves them with a product that is vastly different from what they thought they were purchasing.
In November, a Samsung top-loading washing machine recall was issued, impacting about 3 million units found in homes throughout the United States.
Samsung recalled the washing machines after at least 733 consumer reports indicated that they may begin to shake violently and break apart, exploding and causing projectiles to fly from the machines.
At least nine injuries have been linked to the recalled Samsung washing machines, including a broken jaw and injured shoulder from a consumer being hit by pieces of the metal frames or struck while attempting to control the shaking washing machines. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), many of the reports also included incidents of property damage to surrounding walls and floors in laundry rooms.
Prior to the recall, a warning was issued on September 30, alerting consumers about the risk that Samsung machines may explode or break apart. The warning resulted in an investigation by both the CPSC and Samsung, which concluded that the impacted top-loading washing machines can lose balance at high spin speeds with heavy loads, such as bedding or bulkier water resistant items. When the loss of balance occurs, the machines may spin out of control, causing excessive vibration that may result in the top of the frame detaching from the chassis, posing an impact injury risk.
At the time of the recall, consumers were given three options: refund, replacement, or repair. However, many consumers have left comments on this website and social media complaining that Samsung is trying to force them to take the washing machine replacement option, or a discount towards a new machine that forces them to spend more money on the manufacturer’s products.
Many sought to receive a refund, but are complaining that they are being steered away from that option, or being offered pro-rated refunds based on the age of their machine. Some report they are only being offered a fraction of the original price of $450 to $1,500, even if their machine is only a couple of years old.
Consumers also report that the Samsung washing machine “repair” option is not acceptable, consisting of a sticker that is placed on the controls, blocking the more high-powered options, as well as reinforcing the lid. This leaves homeowners with a washing machine that does not have features they paid for, and many suspect they still have an unreasonably dangerous and defective product in their homes.
According to a number of media reports, the CPSC has been notified of the problem and is investigating. CPSC spokespersons have said that they are working with Samsung to address the recall problems. Samsung has also said that it is attempting to improve the recall process.
Notably, in the FAQ on Samsung’s washing machine recall page, it answers questions about the repairs and the rebates, but appears to avoid addressing refunds.
The consumer watchdog group Consumer Affairs,also reports that many others have come forward stating that Samsung has either refused to refund them or have also cancelled several appointments, potentially attempting to force consumers to use the rebate option.
At least one Samsung washing machine recall class action lawsuit has already been filed, and others are expected as additional consumers contact lawyers over concerns Samsung has taken advantage of them.