Samsung reaches settlement over its “exploding” washing machines

The settlement was decided to avoid distraction and litigation costs, Samsung said.

Samsung Electronics Source: Bloomberg

South Korean manufacturing giant Samsung Electronics has reached a settlement for the group lawsuit placed on its “exploding” washing machines, the firm said on Tuesday.

The group has chosen to settle on the class-action lawsuits involving the top-load washing machines, Samsung said in a statement. The settlement was decided to avoid distraction and litigation costs, it said.

Those covered by the settlement may receive benefits ranging from a rebate, refund or reimbursement of certain expenses, costs, and repairs, Samsung said.

Faulty washing machines

According to the United States (US) Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the problematic appliances were recalled in 2016 after there were complains about the drums of the washers losing balance, triggering excessive vibrations, and resulting in the top separating from the washer.

The lawsuit had claimed that some of the washers were “exploding”. A total of 730 complaints where nine had reported injuries were made, and the defects in the design of the washing machines posed a threat to its users as it could blow up, the CPSC chairman Elliot Kaye had said.

The firm had recalled those faulty washing machines that were built between 2011 and 2016 from the market. A total of 34 models of Samsung’s open-top washing machines were affected.

Samsung had acknowledged that the problem was caused by the high-speed rotation of the washing machine when washing heavy objects. When the rotation is out of balance, there is an excessive shock which causes the upper cover to fly off.

The tech giant has a significant business in the US consumer market.

Samsung has in just 10 years, taken up a sizeable portion of the US washing machine market. In 2008, it owned a 1.8% share in the market, a stark contrast from the 19.8% stake in 2017.

Exploding phones

Samsung’s electronics have been put under scrutiny in recent years. In 2016, the firm was forced to recall its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone due to “exploding” batteries, a move which burnt billions of dollars for the firm.

The risks caused by the phones led to the model being banned on airplanes. In the US for example, the phones were disallowed since 2016 to be brought on flight, checked in, or shipped as air cargo as they are seen as a fire hazard.

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