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Samsung Recalls 2.8 Million Top-Load Washing Machines

Samsung is recalling nearly 3 million top-load washers — but not front-load machines — following reports of excessive vibration that could cause the lids to blow off.
David Becker
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Samsung is recalling nearly 3 million top-load washers — but not front-load machines — following reports of excessive vibration that could cause the lids to blow off.

Samsung is offering repairs, refunds and replacements for about 2.8 million top-load washers after receiving hundreds of reports of machines vibrating excessively — in some cases, so much that the lids became detached.

The consumer electronics company, still reeling from a total recall and halt of its Galaxy Note 7 phone, is recalling 34 models of its top-load washing machines, manufactured as far back as March 2011. (Front-load washers are not affected by the recall.)

"The washing machine top can unexpectedly detach from the washing machine chassis during use, posing a risk of injury from impact," according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The agency says Samsung has received 733 reports of "excessive vibration or the top detaching from the washing machine chassis" — and nine reports of people injured from being hit or falling, including a broken jaw and an injured shoulder.

The company says the issues typically occur when bedding, water-resistant or bulky items are washed on a high-speed cycle. As people wait to fix, exchange or return affected washers, Samsung and the CPSC say they should use the delicate or waterproof cycles when washing such items.

Amid a growing number of reports of machines shaking, falling over and sending parts flying, Samsung said in September that the cases were rare and recommended using lower-speed spin cycles for bulky items.

Owners of the recalled top-load washers qualify for one of three options: free repair with extended warranty; a rebate toward any new washing machine, including free installation; or a full refund if the machine was bought within the past 30 days.

All the details are on the CPSC website.

This is a second major recall for Samsung this year, following the major debacle caused by exploding batteries in its top-line and now-discontinued smartphone Galaxy Note 7.

The South Korean electronics giant has been trying to reclaim almost 2 million phones in the U.S., including the Note 7s it had issued as replacements after saying it had switched battery suppliers.

Samsung and the CPSC are still studying what exactly went wrong in the original Note 7 devices and their replacements to cause flare-ups and explosions. The phone has been banned from airplanes, including in checked luggage.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alina Selyukh is a business correspondent at NPR, where she follows the path of the retail and tech industries, tracking how America's biggest companies are influencing the way we spend our time, money, and energy.

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