SAN FRANSISCO (CBSNewYork) — In the wake of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 issues, a new problem has emerged for the Korean electronics giant. A defective part may be causing Samsung’s top load machines to break apart. Multiple companies are suing Samsung over the defect.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), with the cooperation of Samsung, is recalling 2.8 million of Samsung’s top-loading washing machines in the wake of over 700 reports of exploding washing machines resulting in at least nine injuries. The recall covers 34 of Samsung’s top-loading models sold from March 2011 through November 2016.
CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye told reporters, “We’re talking about … a very serious hazard of the top of these washing machines completely blowing off. It is a lot of reports.” Kaye added that the tops of the affected units weren’t “secured enough based on a design failure. And the top just completely blows off.”
In August 2016, Lieff Cabraser filed a federal consumer product defect lawsuit in district court in New Jersey alleging among other things that the Samsung top-loading washers explode in owners’ homes, causing damage to walls, doors, and other nearby equipment and presenting significant injury risks. Lieff Cabraser partner Jason Lichtman stated, “We are pleased that Samsung has taken the step of agreeing to a formal recall of these dangerous machines, and we are monitoring the situation closely.” Lichtman added, “both the federal court and the Plaintiffs have an important role to play in ensuring that consumers are protected fully and compensated appropriately.”
“It was the loudest sound. It sounded like a bomb went off in my ear,” stated 32-year-old plaintiff Melissa Thaxton of Dallas, Georgia. “There were wires, nuts, the cover actually was laying on the floor. I just remember covering my head and leaning towards my son and just screaming this scream that I didn’t even know I could scream,” Thaxton added.
Beyond damage to the washing machines themselves, reports include descriptions of glass and other machine parts being shot across garages and laundry rooms at distances of over 15 feet, with consequent damage to other appliances, water heaters, and homes. Several Samsung top-loading washer owners report avoiding injury from the exploding debris and equipment pieces only by fortunate timing or physical blocking from other pieces of furniture or equipment, often mere moments after the owners had their heads or hands right by the machines.
In late September 2016, the CPSC issued a warning about the top-loading Samsung washer explosion dangers, advising consumers only to use the most delicate cycle when washing any bedding, water-resistant, or bulky items. “The lower spin speed in the delicate cycle lessens the risk of impact injuries or property damage due to the washing machine becoming dislodged,” the warning noted.
Searches for video captures of exploding Samsung washers on YouTube show over 8,000 results with frightening owner videos posted showing the machines shaking with wild uncontrolled vibrations and exploding as well as a myriad of news reports on the incidents and owner fears about their homes and washers.
Samsung issued a statement indicating it is “moving quickly to offer safe and easy choices to consumers impacted by the recall. Our priority is to minimize any safety risk and address the conditions that lead to the rare instance when the top of the washer unexpectedly separates from the unit.” The company apologized for what it called the “inconvenience” to consumers caused by its defective exploding washing machines, and offered to schedule home visits to conduct free repairs.
Information on affected models is available on the CPSC’s website at www.cpsc.gov. You can learn more about the lawsuits filed on behalf of owners of Samsung top-loading washing machines and your rights as a consumer on Lieff Cabraser’s website.