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An Oklahoma man has filed a class action lawsuit against Samsung Electronics, stating that the company’s home washing machines are dangerously defective. In some cases, they have been reported to actually “explode,” forcing the lids off and potentially injuring consumers.

The plaintiff filed the case on January 13, 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, seeking to represent all consumers who bought one of the Samsung washing machines, which the company recalled in November 2016.

Samsung Receives 733 Reports of Washing Machine Problems

According to his complaint, the plaintiff purchased his Samsung top-loading washing machine in November 2012. He states that for the most part, it worked okay, though it did require two repairs while it was still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. In 2013, for example, the washing machine required more than $700 in repairs.

Then, in November 2016, Samsung announced a recall involving 34 models of their top-loading machines. The company, which is headquartered in South Korea, stated that they were recalling these machines because the “top can unexpectedly detach from the washing machine chassis during use, posing a risk of injury from impact.”

They also stated that they had received 733 reports of washing machines experiencing excessive vibration, or of the top detaching during operation. There are nine reports of injuries, including a broken jaw, injured shoulder and other impact or fall-related injuries.

Consumers Unhappy with Samsung Recall

Samsung has offered, through the recall, to do one of three things for consumers:

  1. Perform a free in-home repair that includes reinforcement of the washer’s top and a free one-year extension of the manufacturer’s warranty.
  2. Give consumers a rebate to be applied toward the purchase of a new Samsung or other brand of washing machine, along with free installation of the new unit and removal of the old one.
  3. Provide a full refund to consumers who purchased their washing machine within 30 days of the recall of the announcement.

The plaintiff says the third option wasn’t open to him because he had purchased his machine years ago. The second option was also undesirable, because the rebate would have provided him with either about half of the original purchase price of his defective Samsung washing machine, or one-third of the price of a similar model from another manufacturer. (Samsung states that the rebate amount is “based on the model and manufacture date of the recalled washer.”)

So, he chose the in-home repair. Unfortunately, the result was unsatisfactory. He states that he was scheduled for modification on three separate dates, but that the Samsung agent never showed up to do the repairs. As of the date the complaint was filed, the repair still had not been completed.

Other consumers have had similar experiences. According to a report by Today, the company is not responsive to requests for repairs, and when they are, they may secure the lid, but then they also apply a new sticker that changes the settings for the loads. Consumers then have to wash bedding on the delicate cycle, for instance, which doesn’t work as well to get the items clean.

The plaintiff in this class action states that he has not used his washing machine since the recall was issued, for fear of a possible explosion. As a result, he has been without a washing machine since November 2016, and has spent “countless hours” on the phone with Samsung trying to get his machine repaired.

Plaintiff Seeks Class Action Status

The plaintiff brings his suit as a class action on behalf of himself and other Samsung washing machine owners. The proposed action includes all residents of the U.S. and U.S. territories who purchased a new recalled washing machine or otherwise acquired one from March 2011 to November 2016.

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