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Recall bug downs Samsung washing machines

Samsung discontinued its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, which was prone to catching fire, last month. But the company’s safety problems have not ended: The manufacturer and a product safety regulator on Friday announced a recall for 2.8 million washing machines in the United States.

The number of washing machines recalled, which includes 34 models of Samsung’s top-loading washers, exceeds the 1.9 million Galaxy Note smartphones that Samsung and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled last month.

The safety commission said the affected Samsung laundry machines were prone to detaching from the washing machine chassis during use, “posing a risk of injury from impact.” Samsung, which is based in South Korea, said this could occur when consumers used a high-speed spin cycle for washing water-resistant clothing or bulky items, including bedding.

“Our priority is to reduce any safety risks in the home and to provide our customers with easy and simple choices in response to the recall,” John Herrington, a general manager of home appliances for Samsung Electronics America, said in a statement.

The safety commission said Samsung had received 733 reports of washing machines experiencing excessive vibrations or the tops detaching. In addition, there were nine reports of related injuries, including a broken jaw and injured shoulder, the commission said.

Samsung said it was moving quickly with the product safety commission to inform consumers of their options. The company said consumers could choose an in-home repair, in which the top of the washer would be reinforced. The second option for customers is to receive a rebate that can be applied toward buying another Samsung washing machine.

Samsung said it would offer refunds only to customers who bought a recalled washing machine in the last 30 days.

In Australia, Samsung conducted a similar recall in 2013 for 144,000 washing machines that were prone to causing fires. Many Australian customers were unhappy with Samsung’s repair job, which involved fitting plastic bags over some connectors. A Facebook group with more than 4,000 owners of the recalled machines started a crowdfunding project to hire forensic experts to analyze the fix. The forensic reports concluded that the plastic bag was an ineffective solution.

For the recall in the United States, the product safety commission has listed the 34 affected washing machine models, which were sold from March 2011 to November of this year. Customers can also enter their serial numbers into Samsung’s website to see if their washing machines are part of the recall.

(via nytimes)