US watchdog warns Samsung washing machine owners after explosion reports

Certain top-load washing machines made between March 2011 and April 2016 were affected


Reuters September 29, 2016
US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning today after multiple reports of top-loading washing machines exploding. PHOTO: REUTERS

Samsung Electronics, which is already reeling from a global recall of its Note 7 smartphones, said on Thursday it is in talks with a US watchdog to address potential safety problems related to some of its washing machines. The South Korean tech company's comments came as the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned of problems with some of Samsung's top-load washing machines, following media reports that they had exploded.

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CPSC on Wednesday issued a warning after receiving multiple reports of top-loading washing machines exploding. ABC News reported that 21 people have submitted cases to the CPSC since early 2015 of washers exploding or blowing apart. One customer in Texas, US claimed the explosion had so much force that the machine went through the wall of her garage. Samsung is also facing a class-action lawsuit in New Jersey over the issue.

Certain top-load washing machines made between March 2011 and April 2016 were affected, both the company and the CPSC said. "In rare cases, affected units may experience abnormal vibrations that could pose a risk of personal injury or property damage when washing bedding, bulky or water-resistant items," Samsung said on its website. The company said consumers with affected models should use the lower speed delicate cycle when washing those materials. Samsung did not mention the models impacted but asked customers to enter their washing machine's serial number to determine if their machine is affected.

It was not immediately known how many units were affected and whether the problem is limited to the United States. Samsung is also facing a lawsuit from US customers who, according to a filing in a New Jersey court on Aug 12, said their machines "explode during normal use". The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Its shares seemed to have shrugged off the latest setback for the company, rising 3.2% as of 0327 on Thursday, versus the wider market's 0.9% gain.

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