Samsung is under fire for what consumers say is a failed attempt to fix its defective washing machines.
We told you about the recall in November. Nearly 3 million people have a Samsung washer in their home that could shake so violently, it can literally break apart. Now Houston customers are asking Amy for help because they say Samsung is not doing enough to fix the problem.
More than 700 of the top-loading washing machines have exploded. That's how the consumers describe it. Nine people have been hurt when they were close to the machine when it came apart. Samsung is letting customers decide to either have their washer repaired or get a rebate based on the age of their machine. But some customers say both options fall short.
We showed you the problem last January. Washing machines shook so violently on the spin cycle, they exploded. It's why Kathy Stark in Pearland and Bobby Eldridge in Kingwood both wanted to make sure it didn't happen to their machines that were working fine. Eldridge opted for the repair option under Samsung's recall.
"It was working and it was great," Eldridge told consumer expert Amy Davis. "And an hour after he serviced it, I put in a load of clothes, ran it... and the top actually separated off of the body of the washing machine."
Now Eldridge's washer vibrates anytime it's on. He ran it without a load just to show us how it vibrates now. For more than 2 weeks, he has tried to get a technician back to his home with no luck.
"You told Samsung, 'I'm afraid to do laundry,'" Davis said. "I am afraid to do laundry," Eldridge confirmed.
Stories like Eldridge's have Stark worried to take the repair option. Samsung offered her $341 as a rebate toward the purchase of another Samsung washer.
"I'm just not happy about having to put more money into something that should have lasted me," Stark said.
Stark would also lose the money she paid Lowes for her extended warranty, her new washer won't match her dryer and she'll likely have to pay for delivery of a new machine and haul-away of the defective one.
"So what is it that you think Samsung should do?" Davis asked Stark.
"I feel like they should replace it.," she answered.
"I bought a product that I would like to perform as it states. That's all I want at this point," Eldridge said.
Both Stark and Eldridge have joined a closed Facebook group where thousands of members are sharing similar frustrations, including concerns that Samsung is using Dish Network technicians to repair the machines in some areas. The fix will not prevent the machines from vibrating excessively. It's only meant to secure the top of the machine.
"Something could still happen, but we're just going to secure the top so if it does happen, at least the top won't fly off," explained Stark.
When we contacted Samsung, a spokesperson emailed this statement:
“We apologize for the inconvenience the recall is causing Ms. Stark and other impacted customers. Our priority is to reduce any safety risks in the home and provide safe choices to consumers impacted by the recall. In coordination with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, we are offering consumers a choice between a free in-home repair for those that want to keep their current washer and an exchange rebate for those that prefer a new machine.
If a consumer chooses a repair, an authorized Samsung field technician will install structural reinforcements to the machine. Consumers who choose the free in-home repair will also receive a one-year extension of the manufacturer’s warranty, regardless of the age of their washer.
We have increased the number of our authorized service partners to ensure any disruption to our customers is minimized. We appreciate our consumer’s patience during this time and our customer care team is standing by to assist anyone who has questions or concerns at 1-866-264-5636. We also encourage everyone to visit http://www.samsung.com/us/TLW to learn more about the recall options that are available."
After Davis called the company, Samsung did increase the rebate amount for Stark and offer to pay for any delivery or haul away charges. If you have not yet gone to Samsung's website to get your rebate amount, do it now. You don't have to claim the rebate yet, but you can lock in the amount you will receive. The older your machine, the less you'll get from Samsung, so the longer you wait, the more money you'll be losing in the deal.