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Exploding washing machines - India to use Samsung products for next strike

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 7 February 2017, 1:21 IST

If you've been reading the news for the past few weeks you've probably heard that Samsung's phones have a tendency to explode. Recent incidents have also shown that Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 and S7 Edge also share the same proclivity.

But if you thought it was limited to just their phones, you'd be totally wrong. Reports this morning are saying that the company's top-loading washing machines are catching fire as well.

Samsung's products - a bang for your buck

On 28 September, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a statement warning consumers about exploding washing machines from the Korean behemoth. This comes on the back of a botched recall for Samsung's latest and apparently greatest phone, the Galaxy Note 7 which were exploding because of faulty batteries.

The CPSC warning is to owners of "certain top loading washing machines made between March 2011 and April 2016" to exercise caution while using their machines.

"The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is actively and cooperatively working with Samsung to address safety issues related to certain top-load washing machines made between March 2011 and April 2016. CPSC is advising consumers to only use the delicate cycle when washing bedding, water-resistant and bulky items. The lower spin speed in the delicate cycle lessens the risk of impact injuries or property damage due to the washing machine becoming dislodged."

In effect, Samsung has not made any mention about which specific models are affected and only offered a five-year range, which means it could encompass a lot of machines. They did release a statement. You can also check if your model is affected. So nice of Samsung.

Samsung did confirm that they are working on a remedy for the customers affected, but offered no timeframe for the same. In the meantime though, they find themselves on the wrong end of court proceedings.

In fact, back in May of 2015, Samsung had launched another national safety recall of their top loading washing machines in Australia. Samsung just never learnt its lesson.

A lawsuit in the offing

According to one court filing, one Texas woman had a nightmare experience. The washing machine "exploded with such ferocity that it penetrated the interior wall of her garage". Another one reported that the "whole house shook". Remember that the next time you complain about your noisy washing machine.

The lawsuit alleged this, "Samsung knowingly, affirmatively and actively misrepresented and concealed the true character, quality and nature of the washing machines and sold the washing machines into the stream of commerce as if they were safe for use".

"There were pieces of the washing machine all over the floor," the user reported. "The machine jumped forward about 2 feet and turned 90 degrees. It slammed into the dryer, leaving a huge dent in the side of it. The force was so powerful, it ripped the electrical outlet from it's screws and bent it to the side."

One woman heard a "violent sounding commotion" coming from the laundry room. She found her 'two-month old machine' "lying on its side, the lid completely blown off, the sides of the machine expanded outward, the internal drums now thrown behind the machine on the floor, the machine itself thrown across the room, and shards of metal and plastic lying everywhere."

It's all terrifying enough to be part of a horror movie.

To date, 21 consumers have formally submitted complaints to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. According to RT, the lawyer representation the case had this to say about why the machines are going bonkers. "The problem is that a support rod in the machine does not sufficiently hold the tub in place. This allows the rod to slide out and then boom!"

We're not sure which one is worse here - burning phones or violent washing machines. But, with more Samsung appliances catching fire, they'll need to hire a new PR agency to soothe the customers and win back their trust. Or become a weapons supplier instead.

First published: 29 September 2016, 6:54 IST