Samsung and US safety officials announced a recall on Friday of nearly 3m washing machines after reports that the appliances – just like the company’s Note 7 smartphones – are exploding and injuring people.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Friday that Samsung has received 733 reports of washing machines “experiencing excessive vibration or the top detaching form the washing machine chassis”.
Injuries in the reports include a broken jaw, an injured shoulder, and bruises and blunt force injuries, the agency said. The recall will affect 34 models of washing machines, about 2.8m machines in total, sold since 2011. Customers can either have a free repair and one-year warranty, an exchange rebate on a new washing machine (with “loyalty incentive up to $150”) for a Samsung purchase), or a full refund for eligible new customers.
The CPSC also said that customers will receive a safety kit and instructions until their machines can be repaired, and they should be warned to use slower spin settings for bulky items until then. In its own statement, Samsung said the recall does not affect models sold outside North America.
“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 electronics and appliance company said in a statement.
“We apologize for the inconvenience this is creating to our loyal customers. We have worked closely with the CPSC to offer a consumer friendly recall that is safe, easy and complete with choices suited to the needs of anyone who may own a recalled machine.”
The recall follows a lawsuit filed earlier this year by two consumers, Suzann Moore and Michelle Soto Fielder, who alleged that the washing machines were “defectively designed and imposed an unreasonable risk to person and property”.
“There is no reasonable or acceptable rate for washing machines to explode,” they wrote in their complaint. “Michelle’s washing machine exploded with such ferocity that it penetrated the interior wall of her garage, where it was located. The dent left at the washing machine’s point of impact was so deep that it pushed through into Michelle’s living room, which shares a wall with her garage.”
Melissa Thaxton, another woman who reported an incident to Samsung, told ABC News that her machine blew up in April. “It was the loudest sound. It sounded like a bomb went off in my ear,” she said. “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.”
In 2013 Samsung ordered a recall of about 150,000 washing machines in Australia, fearing that the machines could cause fires.
And in September, US officials and Samsung ordered a recall of the company’s Galaxy Note 7 smartphone following reports that the devices caught fire. Last month the company ended production of the phones, and it was sued in California court by a woman who said the phone problems extended beyond the Note 7 model.
The South Korean firm’s profits fell by 30% in the third quarter of 2016.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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