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Now Samsung washing machines are blowing up, too

Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko
Use with care.
By Josh Horwitz
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Buyer beware: It’s not just Samsung smartphones that are blowing up. The company’s washing machines are catching fire, too.

On Sept. 28 the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a statement warning consumers about exploding washing machines from the Korean giant. The news comes just as Samsung struggles to manage a massive recall of its new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, which had been exploding due to faulty batteries.

The CPSC urges owners of “certain top loading washing machines made between March 2011 and April 2016” to exercise caution when using their appliances, and adds it is working with Samsung to devise a “remedy for affected consumers”:

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.
CPSC and Samsung are working on a remedy for affected consumers that will help ensure that there are no further incidents. We will provide updated information to the public as soon as possible. Consumers can contact Samsung for more information. Consumers should report any incidents to CPSC via our website

Samsung also released a statement urging consumers to take similar precautions. It provided a link for washing machine owners to check whether their model might be vulnerable to malfunctioning.

According to ABC News, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received 21 reports from consumers claiming their Samsung washing machines had “exploded or blown apart.”

One washing machine owner told ABC News that her appliance suddenly burst into flames while she and her son were nearby. “I just remember covering my head and leaning towards my son and just screaming this scream that I didn’t even know I could scream,” she told the broadcaster. She and other washing machine owners are now suing Samsung in a court in New Jersey.

Neither Samsung nor the CPSC has specified the cause of the explosions. Jason Lichtman, the lawyer representing the aggrieved Samsung customers, told ABC News he believes a support rod inside the machines sometimes becomes unfastened during the spin cycle, causing the machine to “blow apart.”

It’s not clear if Samsung and the CPSC will issue a full recall of the washing machines. The Korean giant’s worldwide (minus China) recall of 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 devices has wiped out an estimated $5 billion in sales revenue, according to some analyst estimates.

Given that the washing machines in question had been on sale for more than five years, a recall for those appliances might cost even more.

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