Laundry is already considered a chore, so the last thing you want is for it to be a moldy chore, right? Particularly when that mold isn’t a result of your procrastination, but rather the fault of front-loading washing machines that allowed bacteria and mold to grow, practically defeating the purpose of doing laundry at all. For nearly a decade, consumers have been complaining about the problems that plagued a number of Whirlpool, Maytag, and Kenmore front-loading machines, and earlier this year, a class-action lawsuit was finally settled. Nearly 5.5 million people received notices that they might be eligible for either a refund or rebate as a result.
According to the lawsuit, “certain front-loading washing machines manufactured between 2001 and 2010 fail to adequately self-clean themselves of laundry residue, resulting in mold or mildew buildup that can cause bad odors and ruined laundry.” If you own or owned one of these machines, the settlement dictates, “you may qualify for a variety of benefits including a cash payment, a rebate on the purchase of a new washing machine or dryer, or reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to past mold or odor problems in your washing machine.”
Specifically, if you had a mold or odor problem within five years of purchase, you can claim $50 cash or a 20 percent cash rebate on the best-negotiated retail purchase price of certain washers or dryers made by Whirlpool. Further, if you paid to have a moldy machine repaired within the first five years of its purchase, you can be reimbursed for up to $500 for documented expenses. Even if you didn’t have a mold problem, you’re still eligible for a cash rebate of five percent off your next purchase of a washer, dryer, or laundry pair.
“I think it’s a terrific settlement,” attorney Jonathan Selbin, who argued the case, told NBC News. “We are very pleased with the result. We’re happy that the manufacturers decided to take care of the problem at long last.”
While Whirlpool may be taking care of the problem, there still seem to be a few other manufacturers in hot water regarding the same issue. As NBC News reports, there’s another proposed settlement for a smaller class-action case implicating LG front-loaders, which may affect up to 800,000 machines. Consumer Reports also seems to suggest that a number of other front-loader owners are complaining about mold and odor issues with their non-LG or Whirlpool machines.
So if you’re looking to buy a new laundry machine, you may want to do a bit of research first. After all, there’s nothing worse than coming home to fresh, stinky laundry.