The saying goes, “when it rains, it pours,” and there’s no question it’s been absolutely flooding for the South Korean electronics and appliances company Samsung. A little less than a month after recalling its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone due to fire and explosion hazard, the multinational corporation has yet again issued a warning for one of its products, this time calling for a voluntary recall of one of its top-loading washers. The reason? Apparently, the washers have the ability to lose balance, excessively vibrate, and (in rare cases) explode. As far as track records go, Samsung’s isn’t looking particularly pristine.
According to a published press release, Samsung issued the voluntary recall after many reports of its top-loader washers began surfacing in recent weeks, many of which pointed to its high-speed cycle as the likely culprit. A setting typically used for bedding or water-resistant and bulky laundry, the high-speed cycle showed the ability to make the washer’s interior drum lose its balance. Once this occurred, the washer would then begin violently vibrating, thus separating the appliance’s top from the body of the washer.
“Our priority is to reduce any safety risks in the home and to provide our customers with easy and simple choices in response to the recall,” said Samsung Electronics America Senior Vice President and General Manager of Home Appliances, John Herrington. “We are moving quickly and in partnership with the CPSC to ensure consumers know the options available to them and that any disruption in the home is minimized.”
All told, Samsung’s latest recall concerns its top-loading washers manufactured between March 2011 and November 2016 (assuming it’s corrected the issue), with the company offering owners of these appliances two “easy choices” for fixing the problem. Users of these machines can either schedule a free in-home repair, in which someone will bolster the attachment of the washer’s top. Additionally, those who choose Option A also receive a free one-year extension on Samsung’s warranty, no matter how long they’ve owned the unit.
Samsung’s second option is to issue a rebate capable of being applied to the purchase of another washing machine (Samsung or another brand), with free installation of the new unit — and free removal of the old appliance — thrown in for free. Not a bad choice, right? Well, the rebate amount is solely tied to the manufacture date and model of the washer being recalled, which means older washers won’t fetch as many replacement dollars. Samsung will throw in an additional $150, however, to anyone who opts for another Samsung washer as a replacement.
Outside of the washers in question, Samsung also plans on sending every single known washer owner a Home Label Kit containing warning labels, a new control panel guide, and instructions on how to apply these to the machine. Furthermore, it’s also offering complete refunds to any customer who’s purchased a recalled washer in the past 30 days.
While the reports of Samsung’s top-loading washers are cause for concern, it’s not the first time this year a top-loading appliance has made headlines for its risk to user safety. Back in September, GE issued an urgent recall for three types of its top-loading washers (WPGT9350, WPGT9360, and WPGT9150) and recommended any owner of such model to immediately unplug it. With roughly 222,000 at-risk units installed through the United States, GE said it received 71 different reports of its washer’s internal components burning or catching fire. In other words, 2016 is not the year of the top-loading washer.
How to tell if your washer is affected
Thankfully, Samsung has made it easy to quickly check whether or not a top-loading washer falls under the umbrella of “voluntary recall.” By simply visiting Samsung’s recently built recall site, owners have the ability to select their current model and model number of washer, input the serial number printed on the machine, and after clicking “Check,” the site will show if their model is included in the recall.
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