We’ve been getting a lot of questions from readers after Samsung announced a recall on 2.8 million washing machines due to a risk of explosion during a cycle.
That’s because of the unusual choice Samsung is offering owners of affected machines: They can either choose to have the washer repaired, or they can receive a rebate towards a new machine that’s based on the age and original purchase price of the washer.
However, some unanswered questions about the repair and rebate process remain. Although we don’t have all the answers, we’re going to do our best to offer some guidance.
What does the repair entail?
Samsung has promised a free in-home repair for all recalled machines, plus a one-year warranty extension on the entire washer. But reader Margaret wanted to know exactly what would be fixed. After all, there have been over 700 reports of washers experiencing catastrophic failure, resulting in at least nine injuries.
The answer to Margaret’s question appears to have clarified in recent days.
Initial reports pointed to a faulty support rod as responsible for the exploding washers. Jason Lichtman, a partner at Lieff Cabraser—the law firm representing plaintiffs who brought a case against Samsung—demonstrated the flaw during a report on Good Morning America. “The rod can slide right out,” he said. “And that’s what causes the washing machine to blow apart.”
The demonstration is referenced in a blog post on the firm’s website, complete with a screen shot of Lichtman holding a piece of a washing machine.
The latest reports, however, seem to focus on the washer’s top. In an interview with ABC News, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) chairman Elliot Kaye said that without a repair there is “a very serious hazard of the top of these washing machines completely blowing off.”
Samsung would not comment on the repair process to Reviewed.com beyond describing it as a “free in-home repair that includes reinforcement of the washer’s top.” Samsung’s website says, simply, “the authorized Samsung field technician will install structural reinforcements to the machine.”
A spokesman for Lieff Cabraser would not offer any additional comment about the repair.
Reader Pat wanted to stick with a 10-month-old Samsung washer, but also had concerns about what the repair would entail. Those concerns grew after he received a Home Label Kit, which modifies the text on the washer’s control panel by changing the Bedding cycle to read “Jeans,” and modifies the Waterproof cycle to read “Bedding/Waterproof.”
“What this basically means is that owners are not to use the old bedding cycle anymore, even though the recall problem was repaired!” he wrote. “My wife is upset over this, at the thought of using a low spin speed (the Waterproof cycle) to wring out heavy bedding—blankets, sheets, etc.”
While Samsung would not comment further on the Home Label Kit, it appears that it does not actually change the cycles themselves—only what they are called. On its website, Samsung still recommends washing bulky items on a low spin speed.
How much money will I get back?
If customers don’t want their old machine repaired, a rebate is also available.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have some personal experience with the rebate: My mother owns an affected machine. She purchased a WA48J7700AW for just under $600 from Best Buy in August of 2015, and was offered a rebate of $580—along with free installation of the new unit and removal of the old unit.
Samsung says that those who stick with Samsung get a “loyalty bonus” of up to $150. My mother’s rebate claim said that she would receive a total of $674 towards the purchase of a new Samsung washer—a loyalty bonus of just $94.
Other owners have reported more meager rebates. Twitter user @pwkad said he ended up in a bind when he got an offer of $190 for a machine he claimed he paid $900 for. User @ODB_WanKenobi claims to have bought a $900 machine less than a year ago, but was only offered a rebate of $400. And @StevenLoi said he was offered just a $36 rebate on his washer—and only an additional $100 loyalty bonus if he stuck with Samsung.
Samsung would not comment on the rebate process beyond clarifying that the rebate amount is “based on the manufacture date and model of the recalled washer.”
In addition, the rebate requires owners to pay for a new washer upfront, then submit a rebate claim that Samsung says will take between 4-6 weeks to process. Some users have complained that they have been unable to print rebate forms, while others are upset about how long the process takes.
To find out how much of a rebate you may be eligible for, or to learn more about the recall, visit Samsung’s dedicated recall website.