MIAMI — Samsung Electronics America Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. are facing a class-action lawsuit related to alleged exploding washing machines.
Lead plaintiff Kenneth Menzer alleged in the complaint filed
in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida that
some Samsung washing machines “'explode' or suffer catastrophic failure during
a given machine’s normal usage because of a design defect and/or manufacturing
flaw," according to court documents.
Samsung issued a recall of some of the allegedly defective machines, including the one that Menzer purchased at an hhgregg Inc. store. However, the complaint said none of the three options offered for consumers covered by the recall worked for Menzer.
Specifically, Menzer said in the lawsuit that an option to receive “an in-home repair or retrofit that includes reinforcement of the washer’s top and a free one-year extension of the manufacturer’s warranty” would not work because the new part allegedly would not fix the problem and the machine would still be unusable in some circumstances.
“The retrofit is designed to, in theory, stop the lid of the machine from cracking or exploding, however it does nothing to fix the underlying excessive vibration issues and customers are still not able to use the washing machines on heavy settings that would typically be used to wash bedding or heavier garments,” the complaint said.
Samsung also offered a rebate that customers could apply toward the cost of a new washing machine in addition to free installation and removal of the old machine. Menzer argued that consumers would still need to pay the difference between the rebate amount and the cost of the new machine.
Finally, Samsung’s recall promised a complete refund for those who bought their washing machine within 30 days of the recall announcement. Menzer purchased his allegedly defective machine before that period, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit alleges that Samsung had received 733 reports from customers of washing machines that were excessively vibrating or had a machine with a top that had detached. Nine injuries were reported from the machines, including a broken jaw and injured shoulder.
The recall covered 34 different models of Samsung top-loading washing machines.
The complaint also alleges that, because the three options offered are less than ideal, including the difficulty of working with the company to complete the recall and the cost to the consumer, owners have washing machines that aren't truly recalled.
The lawsuit asks the court to grant an injunction against the sale of the recalled machines, as well as monetary damages.