Samsung’s 2.8 Million Washing Machines Recall Could Dwarf Galaxy Note 7 Recall

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When things go wrong inside of companies, they often go really wrong. When Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 smartphone started catching on fire, the hope was that they would be fixed. Then they had to kill the phone entirely after the exchanged phones were a risk as well. Now Samsung is having continued woes with its washing machines.

24/7 Wall St. first reported about Samsung’s warning of exploding washing machines in late September. Now we have official word that things have become even worse at Samsung.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has just announced that Samsung is having to recall its top-load washing machines due to a risk of impact injuries. The exact hazard listed was that the washing machine top can unexpectedly detach from the washing machine chassis during use, posing a risk of injury from impact.

What matters here is that this will not be a cheap recall. You can drive a smartphone back to the store or mail it in cheaply. Have you ever tried moving a washing machine, or just dealing with getting a technician out to deliver or fix one? And the size of this recall is huge — about 2.8 million total units!

The CPSC website shows that Samsung has received 733 reports of washing machines experiencing excessive vibration or the top detaching from the washing machine chassis. Unfortunately, there are also nine related reports of injuries. Those injuries include a broken jaw, injured shoulder and other impact or fall-related injuries.

samsung-exploded-washer
Source: saferproducts.gov

Again, this will not be a cheap recall. Samsung’s units were sold at Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sears and other home appliance stores from March 2011 to November 2016. The price ranges for the units recalled were between $450 and $1,500 per machine. All known consumers also will receive a Home Label Kit that includes a control panel guide and additional safety instructions in the mail. The three remedies were listed as follows:

(1) 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) a rebate to be applied towards the purchase of a new Samsung or other brand washing machine, along with free installation of the new unit and removal of old unit;
(3) a full refund for consumers who purchased their washing machine within the past 30 days of the recall announcement.

The CPSC website offers usage instruction as follows:

Until they have received and installed a Home Label Kit, consumers should only use the delicate or waterproof cycles when washing bedding, water-resistant and bulky items.  The lower spin speed in the delicate or waterproof cycles lessens the risk of the washing machine top unexpectedly detaching from the washing machine chassis.

24/7 Wall St. wanted to consider what this massive recall for Samsung washing machines might actually mean in dollar terms. The median price would be close to $1,000 and if there were 2.8 million units sold, then it could account for about $2.8 billion in revenues on just a raw basis, without knowing the exact spread of sales. Then there are the recall costs from performing the repair or swap and the deliveries. And there are the potential lawsuits from the injuries that have happened, and the underlying risks of injuries that could happen again.

If you want to know why this recall could be far worse for Samsung than the Galaxy Note 7 recall, here is what CNET reported on this matter after the replacement phones continued to overheat:

The recall covers about 1.9 million phones in the US. Last month, Samsung said it had sold 2.5 million Note 7 phones worldwide.

At least the CPSC notice did not say that Samsung would be required to offer up free DVDs of the movie Maximum Overdrive.