The Terrifying Story of the Exploding Washing Machine

by Terry Bryant

A New Jersey federal judge ruled on May 21 that an oral settlement agreement reached in June 2017 in two class action lawsuits over allegedly defective Samsung washers should be enforced. This may finally bring to an end several years of conflict between consumers and Samsung over its “exploding” washing machines.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning in late 2016 for Samsung washers which were manufactured between March 2011 and April 2016. The CPSC’s warning came after the filing of both class actions against the company, which triggered the company’s recall in April of that year. Also caught in this recall web were Sears top-loading machines, manufactured during that same period – 2011-2016 – by Samsung.

The lawsuits – both in MDL’s (multidistrict litigations) – were modified during arguments before the judge after Samsung “reassessed” thousands of washing machines which had allegedly been repaired by the manufacturer as part of Samsung’s first recall. It was issued after some fires and other incidents to recalled machines that had already been repaired by Samsung, raising further questions about the effectiveness of the company’s recall-related repairs.

The reasons for this protracted matter involved two problems with the washers. The initial recall in 2013, affecting around 30,000 units worldwide, was due to washer fires, the causes of which were traced to the devices’ electrical systems. But in late 2014, another deeper problem was revealed. The washers began to shake violently. Some even exploded.

After one such explosion in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the owner aptly described the experience.  His wife had put a mattress pad in their top-loader, started the machine and left the room. “Suddenly,” he said, “(there) was a boom sound, and my wife thought maybe something had fallen from the sky.” The force of the explosion pushed the washer away from the wall and blew the top off the unit. “If people were in there, especially my kids, it could have been deadly,” he said. “How can a washing machine just blow up?

It took Samsung many months to issue its recall in 2016 for the 2.8 million exploding top-loading washing machines that can shake themselves apart and send pieces flying through consumers’ laundry rooms or homes. Many accused Samsung of dragging its feet – especially when it came to issuing refunds.

The recall offered consumers the choice of a warranty extension and either an in-home repair, a rebate on a new machine, or a complete refund if the consumer had purchased the machine within 30 days of the date the second recall was issued. The Dallas customer says he was never notified of his washer’s danger by Samsung.

Many other consumers complained that Samsung either refused to repair or failed to fix the shaking washers successfully.  This was a repeat of the pattern of behavior displayed earlier in the much smaller Samsung recall of washers with electrical problems.

The frustration of consumers was well-summarized by another owner of a Samsung top-loader class-action participant: “My new Samsung washer has slammed itself all over the laundry room. I have readjusted it on about every load. It barely uses any water and soap is stuck to my jeans. I have never washed bedding. It goes nuts on towels or jeans. Now I find out it is on recall… I guess they didn’t want to refund my money.”

Maybe now consumers will find their relief. And defective Samsung washers will be relegated to a memorable place in consumer history, alongside the company’s exploding smartphones.

If you have been injured by a defective or recalled product, Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law is ready to help. Contact us any time by calling toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 or through our site.