Samsung has issued a voluntary recall for millions of top-loading washing machines, which can explode during use and create serious safety risks.
- 2.8 million washing machines recalled
- 700+ explosion reports
- At least nine injured consumers
Consumers have sustained severe “impact” injuries, including a broken jaw, after one of Samsung’s defective washers suddenly blew up. Legal action may be possible.
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Samsung has voluntarily recalled 2.8 million top-loading washing machines over a risk of blunt-force injuries. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the washing machine’s top lid can suddenly detach from the product’s chassis, creating a significant risk for impact injuries. At least nine personal injuries have already been reported, including broken bones.
Samsung Washers Explode, Cause Impact Injuries
As of November 4, 2016, the South Korean multinational has received 733 reports of dangerous washing machine malfunctions, “excessive vibration” during use and multiple consumer injuries. Samsung’s front-load washers are not affected by the recall.
The issue first came to light when ABC News released the results of a year-long investigation into Samsung’s top-loading washers. In September of 2016, reporters from Good Morning America said they had identified 21 reports of Samsung washing machines that had exploding during operation. In interviews, affected consumers describe terrifying explosions and near-miss incidents. “It sounded like a bomb went off in my ear,” one mother said.
Consumers File Samsung Washing Machine Lawsuits
Several consumers have already filed a class action lawsuit against Samsung in a New Jersey federal court, although their complaint does not involve personal injuries. Court documents do, however, describe a serious risk for injury, with one claimant describing an explosion so forceful that it broke through a garage wall.
Plaintiff Melissa Thaxton says that she, and other consumers, have chosen to pursue legal action “to warn other people about the problem.” In court documents, consumers argue that the washers were installed with a faulty support rod that is insufficient to stabilize the tub and can come unfastened during spin cycles.
At the time, Samsung told Good Morning America, “in rare cases, affected units may experience abnormal vibrations that could pose a risk of personal injury or property damage when washing bedding, bulky or water-resistant items. It is important to note that Samsung customers have completed hundreds of millions of loads without incident since 2011.”
“Design Failure,” CPSC Chairman Says
Elliot Kaye, chairman at the CPSC, told a similar story to Good Morning America, blaming the explosions on a “design failure.” “We’re talking about […] a very serious hazard of the top of these washing machines completely blowing off,” Kaye said, adding that the washer’s tops were not “secured enough.”
As Samsung wrote in a press release, the company has received hundreds of reports “highlighting the risk that the drums in these washers may lose balance, triggering excessive vibrations, resulting in the top separating from the washer. This can occur when a high-speed cycle is used for bedding, water-resistant or bulky items and presents an injury risk to consumers.”
The washing machine recall follows close on the heels of Samsung’s recall of 1 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, which can catch fire during charging.
Affected Samsung Washing Machines
The recall affects 34 models of Samsung top-load washing machines:
The washing machine’s model and serial number can be found on two stickers attached to the back of the machine. All of the affected washers feature either rear- or mid-control displays. Rear-control washers have an upright display panel, while mid-control washers have a flat control panel, seamlessly integrated into the machine’s top.
The washing machines were sold at Best Buy, Lowes, Home Depot, Sears and other appliance retailers from March of 2011 until the recent recall. Prices ranged from $450 to $1,500. The products were manufactured at facilities in South Korea, Thailand and China. Importation and distribution were handled by Samsung’s US subsidiary, New Jersey-based Samsung Electronics America Inc.
Samsung Offers Rebate, Repair For Dangerous Washers
Samsung is offering a full refund to consumers who purchased a recalled washing machine within 30 days before the recall was issued, between October 5, 2016 and November 4, 2016. For those who bought their machines earlier, the company plans to offer an option between two different remedies:
- A rebate that can be applied to the purchase of a new washing machine, either manufactured by Samsung or another brand, including free installation and free removal of the old washing machine. Consumers who opt for a new Samsung washing machine will receive an “additional loyalty incentive up to $150,” the company says. The amount of the rebate itself will depend on the recalled washer’s model and manufacturing date.
- A free in-house repair to reinforce the washing machine’s top, along with a free one-year extension of the product’s warranty. While the recall affects both washers with mid- and rear-controls, Samsung is only offering free in-house repairs for mid-control washing machines at this time.
Samsung also intends to mail a “Home Label Kit” to all known purchasers of the affected washing machines. The kit will include two warning stickers to place on the machine, explaining that reduced-speed spin cycles should be used to wash bedding, bulky or water-resistant items. Additional safety instructions and a new guide to the machine’s control panel will also be included, although the guide does not apply to Samsung’s mid-control washers. The company expects to begin sending out Home Label Kits within 14 days of the recall’s announcement.
Before a remedy is completed, ABC News reports, consumers should use only the machine’s waterproof or delicate cycles to wash large or bulky items, like bedding or water-resistant clothes. Lower washer speeds will reduce the risk of malfunction and injury, the CPSC says.
Find More Recall Information
Own a recalled Samsung washing machine? Consumers have been advised to call Samsung on the company’s toll-free line at 866-264-5636 between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. or visit their website, www.Samsung.com. Click on the banner at the top of the screen that reads “Important Information Concerning Your Top-Load Washer” to learn more about moving forward.
Samsung Recall Strategy “Flawed,” Reports Accuse
Samsung’s earlier recall efforts have been heavily criticized.
In 2013, the company recalled six models of top-loading washers in Australia over a risk that the products could catch fire. While Samsung executives reacted quickly to incident reports, the company’s response was “flawed,” the Wall Street Journal says. A Samsung press release published in 2015 described the situation as a “major failure.” It remains one of Australia’s largest product recalls, affecting around 150,000 units.
A similar problem marred the company’s image after its smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7, began exploding. Only days after becoming aware of the issue, executives quickly concluded that the device’s battery was to blame for the fire hazard. Samsung recalled the phones and replaced them with new ones which featured a different battery. But the explosions only continued, leading the company to scrap the Galaxy Note 7 completely.
Contact Our Samsung Washing Machine Attorneys
Were you or a loved one injured when a Samsung top-loading washing machine unexpectedly exploded? Our experienced product liability attorneys are here to help.
Some injured consumers may be entitled to significant financial compensation. To learn more about your legal options, contact our lawyers immediately for a free consultation.