Fresh headache for Samsung: exploding washing machines
30 September 2016
Even as the issue of exploding batteries on Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 smartphones awaits full resolution, the company is facing another publicity headache – reports of exploding washing machines.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS) issued a warning on Wednesday about Samsung top-loading washing machines made between March 2011 and April 2016 because of concerns about injury or property damage. The statement advises owners of the defective machines to only use the delicate cycle for bulky items, such as bedding.
''The lower spin speed in the delicate cycle lessens the risk of impact injuries or property damage,'' according to a CPCS release.
A federal class-action lawsuit in the US representing three women from Texas, Indiana and Georgia was filed in New Jersey in August. The plaintiffs allege that their Samsung washing machines exploded in their homes, causing property damage and a risk to their safety.
''It was the loudest sound,'' plaintiff Melissa Thaxton stated in the lawsuit. ''It sounded like a bomb went off in my ear.''
The lawyer for the case, Jason Lichtman, claims that a rod can slide right out of the washing machines, causing them to ''blow apart''.
Samsung has responded to the allegations in a consumer notice posted on its website. It also recommend owners use the delicate cycle for heavier items and say there have been ''no reported incidents'' when using that cycle.
''It is important to note that Samsung customers have completed hundreds of millions of loads without incident since 2011,'' the notice reads.
The lawsuit is calling on Samsung to take ''corrective action'' by recalling the machines and warning the public of the dangers they pose.
Samsung didn't specify which units are affected, but directed customers to check their model's serial numbers on their website.
Marketing and brand expert Tony Chapman told CTV News Channel on Thursday that the malfunctioning washing machines are bad news for Samsung's reputation, coming so soon after the highly-publicised smartphone recall.
''This is something that is absolutely getting steeped in the consumer in terms of how they think, feel and how they'll behave in the future towards a brand,'' he said. ''It's a very tough thing for that company (Samsung) to swallow.''
When the news of the exploding washing machines first came to light, Chapman said that Samsung should have immediately acknowledged the problem, issued a recall and repaired or delivered new machines to their customers.
''You have to get in front of this,'' he said. ''If not, especially with social media, it just becomes an uncontrollable bush fire.''