In 2016, Samsung recalled 2.8 million top-loading clothes washers because of a safety hazard. How can a consumer get all of his or her money back for a Samsung washing machine? The offered options of partial money back or a fixed machine the owner can’t sell used just don’t seem fair.
In this article we’ll discuss a few options for getting all your money back for one of these defective top-loaders.
How to Get Your Money Back for a Samsung Washing Machine
Not everyone will be able to get all their money back for a Samsung washing machine. In late 2016, Samsung announced a voluntary recall of about 2.8 million washing machines. The recall was issued in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The recall covers Samsung top-loaders bought between December of 2013 and June of 2016. Samsung issued the recall after receiving 733 reports of the washing machines’ lids flying off, potentially sending parts flying around the room. Nine of these incidents caused injuries, including an injured shoulder and one broken jaw.
The list below shows all the options to get your money back for one of these defective machines.
- Official Samsung recall. The official Samsung recall offers a choice between: A) About half the money refunded B) About 60% of the money toward a new Samsung washing machine or C) Samsung will fix the machine, but it’s illegal to resell it used later. There’s no option to get all money back.
- CPSC complaint. Consumers can complain to the CPSC if they’re unsatisfied with the recall. The wheels of government turn slowly, but if enough consumers complain a new, better recall may be issued. This is one way to get all money back for a Samsung washing machine in the future. To complain to the CPSC about the recall, call 800-638-2772.
- If bought within 30 days. Return the Samsung washing machine for a full refund if it matches the recalled model numbers shown below.
- Check the store’s return policy. Many stores have return policies on most items of anywhere from 30 days to a full year. For example, most products bought at Lowes can be returned to the store for a full refund within 90 days of purchase. Try to return the defective Samsung washer to the store for a full refund.
- If bought within 90 days. Consumers can try a chargeback on a credit card. This means basically disputing the charge on the credit card, with the credit card company, on the grounds that the product is defective. In most cases this should work.
The Samsung Washer Recall and What’s Wrong With It
The voluntary recall set up with the CPSC doesn’t give all money back for a Samsung washer. The recall instead offers shoppers a choice between the following three options:
- Get about 50% of your money back toward a new washer. My wife and I bought a Samsung washing machine about eight months before the recall. Samsung offered to pay us $451 toward a new washer by another manufacturer. That’s 53% of the purchase price. Not an attractive option. Some buyers are offered even less depending on how long they’ve owned their washers.
- Get about 61% of your money back toward a new Samsung washer. Samsung offered to pay us $524 toward a new Samsung washing machine. That’s 61% of the full purchase price. That’s slightly better than option #1 but still not great. Again, some people are offered even less. The amount depends on how long it’s been since the machine was installed.
- Let Samsung fix the washer. This doesn’t give any money back but the washing machine will work safely again. The big problem with this option is that it’s illegal to sell any recalled product. That is, the owner can’t sell the washer used in three years. It must be thrown away. The repair option also extends the washer’s warranty for one year.
Needless to say, none of the options in the official Samsung recall are very attractive. However there are a few other avenues open to owners of this defective machine. To learn about them, see the sections below. To see the full details of the official Samsung top-loader recall, click here.
Why Most Consumers Can’t Get All Their Money Back
Most consumers can’t get all their money back for a Samsung washing machine because of the recall. The recall may only offer 50% to 60% of a shopper’s money back. The recall is what it is, which is to say, not great. Since it was worked out in agreement with the U.S. CPSC, it’s considered official and there’s not a whole lot consumers can say about it. However, disgruntled shoppers do have options. Among them are complaining to the CPSC, seeking a refund through other means and waiting for a class action lawsuit. We’ll look into each of those below.
Complain to the CPSC
Consumers who want to hold out for all their money back on a Samsung washer can complain to the CPSC. As one CPSC employee told us, “The wheels of government turn slowly,” so this option may take some time. The idea here is that if enough consumers complain that the terms of this recall are unfair, the CPSC may decide to put pressure on Samsung to sweeten the deal. It’s fairly easy to complain to the CPSC. Just call the CPSC at (301) 504-7912 and file a complaint. The gist of the complaint should be something like, “I bought this washing machine and now it’s unsafe. Samsung has offered me about 60% of my money back, or to fix the washer, but then I can’t ever sell it used. I don’t think this is fair.”
That’s it. If the CPSC gets thousands of complaints like that they may revisit the issue. Consumers can also complain online by clicking here.
If It’s Within 30 Days of Purchase
Anyone who bought their washing machine within 30 days should have no problem getting their money back for a Samsung washer. Just take the washer back to the store and ask for a refund. Most stores will take back a product within 30 days of purchase. Even if the store’s policy is different, Samsung has offered to honor all returns within the 30 day window. The offer works at the place of purchase, so the upshot is that anyone who bought a Samsung less than 30 days ago is in luck and can get a full refund.
Check the Store’s Return Policy
Shoppers who bought their machine more than 30 days ago may still be able to get a full refund on a Samsung washer. Many stores such as Lowes have a 90 day grace period on most products. That means shoppers who buy from Lowes can get their money back on anything they buy there for fully 90 days after purchase. While store return policies differ, we strongly suggest you check the policy of the store where you bought your machine. To find any store’s return policy, google “return policy” and the name of the store. For example, googling “Home Depot return policy” brings up a page that says most new items can be returned to Home Depot within 90 days after purchase. However, that’s cut to 30 days on major appliances like washing machines.
If It’s Within 90 Days of Purchase
What if the store’s return policy doesn’t allow shoppers to get all their money back for a Samsung washing machine? Let’s say a consumer bought her washer two months ago from a store that only has a 15 day return policy. In that case the buyer still has a way to get a full refund. It’s called a chargeback. Basically, the buyer calls her credit card company and disputes the charge on the grounds that the product was defective from day one. This won’t work with a product a shopper is simply “dissatisfied with.” However, for defective and especially unsafe products, it should work fine. Chargebacks work for up to 90 days after purchase. Once the customer disputes the transaction, the credit card company will investigate and decide whether to refund the shopper’s money.
Will a Class Action Lawsuit Help Samsung Buyers Get All Their Money Back?
Will a class action suit help buyers get all their money back for a Samsung washer? The short answer is: maybe. We called a large and highly successful national law firm that specializes in consumer protection law specifically related to defective products. The lawyer we spoke with asked that we not use her name or the name of her firm in our article. She also told us that because Samsung has a recall in place that’s been agreed to by the CPSC, the chances of winning a class action suit against them are very low.
A class action lawsuit typically works by taking the complaints of many people and bundling them together into a “class.” The law firm then sues the offending company on behalf of hundreds or even millions of people. If the law firm wins, they then pay a certain amount of money to each product owner.
While the law firm we spoke with said they didn’t think a suit like this against Samsung would work, another firm has already filed such a suit. A spokesman for that firm told us they have high hopes of winning money, though it may take up to two years to collect. Samsung washing machine buyers who are interested can fill out the online form at ClassActionLawsuitCenter.com. As a caveat, class action suits are notorious for earning millions for lawyers while not traditionally paying much money to clients.
Can Buyers Get Some Money Back Now and Still Benefit from the Lawsuit?
A representative of ClassActionLawsuitCenter.com told us owners shouldn’t get part of their money back now for a Samsung washer if they want to get money from the lawsuit. He said it was important not to use a defective washer. He also said it should be OK for owners to take part in the repair part of the Samsung recall. Owners of the defective machine should let Samsung fix them. They can still get money from the class action suit later if it’s successful. However, he cautioned against accepting a partial refund from Samsung. Getting a little money back now could prevent getting more money back later from the class action suit.
How to Know if Your Samsung Washing Machine Has Been Recalled
Anyone looking to get their money back for a Samsung washing machine should check first to see if their washer has been recalled. The list below shows the affected model numbers. To find a washing machine model number, look on the back at the top of the machine. Facing the back of the unit, the model number should be shown on a small sticker at the top right. The serial number is just below the model number. Check the serial number against the list below or visit Samsung’s website and type the number into the recall form.
Model Numbers Affected by the Samsung Recall
Money Back for a Samsung Non-Top-Loader Washing Machine
Looking for info on how to get money back for a non-top-loading Samsung washer? This article concerns only the recall of 2.8 million Samsung top-loaders sold from 2013 through 2016. Recalls of Samsung models from earlier years for faulty wiring or for malfunctioning front-loaders aren’t covered in this article.
Is My Samsung Washing Machine Dangerous?
Anyone who has a Samsung washing machine affected by the 2016 recall should take action. The washer models named in the recall aren’t dangerous in terms of the potential to burn down a house as in the case of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. That said, there is a definite danger that these washing machines could vibrate too hard, throwing off the top cover and other parts. They could also tip over and dump water onto the floor. Incidents like this have been reported by 733 owners, with some resulting in injury from flying parts.
Anyone who has one of the Samsung model numbers shown in the table above should stop using it immediately until it’s been fixed. Failing that, the machine should be disposed of entirely.
Samsung Washing Machine Repair
An alternative to getting money back for a Samsung washer is getting it repaired. Samsung has offered to fix all the affected models free of charge. To start this process, call Samsung at 866-264-5636. The call takes about 10 minutes. After the repair option has been selected, a repair tech will come to your house to fix the machine. This option extends the manufacturer’s warranty by one year. Note that it’s illegal to sell a previously recalled item, even at a yard sale and even after it’s been fixed. That means when the time comes to upgrade to a newer washer, this one will need to be taken to the dump.
The Problem With Recalls
The trouble with recalls is that since 2008 they’ve left consumers holding the bag. The 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) made it illegal to sell any previously recalled product. While that may sound like a good idea, an examination of the law makes it seem perplexing. It’s OK for a manufacturer to recall an unsafe product, refunding only part of the purchase price as long as a repair option exists. Shoppers can then get their defective product fixed free of charge, but they can no longer sell it as a used item, even in a yard sale. This begs the question, if it’s fixed and safe enough for the original buyer, why isn’t it safe enough to sell second hand?
We may not get an answer to that question, but one thing’s for certain: the 2008 law makes getting all our money back for a recalled Samsung washing machine almost impossible.