23 March 2016
Consumer advocacy group CHOICE is concerned at reports Samsung will have to physically check around 32,000 "repaired" top loader washing machines following widespread consumer concern about the veracity of the fix.
The news comes in the wake of more than 220 fires or incidents and CHOICE calling out Samsung with an infamous Shonky Award last October for its recall of 144,450 top loaders.
"Not only have Samsung refused to alert consumers to the risk their products present through television advertising, this news confirms it has also presided over a questionable nationwide repair process," says CHOICE's Head of Media Tom Godfrey.
"Given Samsung has known about problems with the repair process for at least a year, we need Samsung to come clean and explain what 'mistakes' have led to 32,000 repaired machines needing to be physically reassessed.
"We believe Samsung should cease reworking faulty machines until an independent and transparent review of the rework solution is undertaken.
"CHOICE is also calling on Samsung to notify all customers who have had the rework that they have a right to a refund, replacement or repair.
"If this right wasn't disclosed to customers at the time of the repair we believe they should be allowed to have their reworked machine refunded or replaced at no penalty," says Mr Godfrey.
"This latest decision means there may be approximately 70,000 potentially hazardous washing machines in homes across Australia.
"When a product has a 'major' failure under Australian Consumer Law, it is the consumer's decision as to whether or not they get a repair, replacement or a refund. When it comes to these top loaders, our advice remains that consumers should push for a refund.
"We get the very real sense that this company cares more about managing its reputation than it does about protecting consumers from its dodgy products.
"It is concerning that for the first two years of the recall, Samsung proactively pushed consumers into this repair instead of a refund or replacement, and this involved installing a fire-retardant plastic bag over the electrical connectors.
"While some consumers have exercised their right to a refund or replacement, following guidance from Samsung, the vast majority of machines caught up in the recall have been repaired," Mr Godfrey says.
Last year, CHOICE dramatically crushed two Samsung washing machines to propel the potential hazard onto the nation's TV screens and launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a television advertisement to warn consumers.
The decision to crowdfund the television advertisement came following research which found 47% of consumers expected to see or hear about recalls through television advertising.
The video of the washing machine crushing is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxJAR7sLgLU
. The crowdfunded advertisement can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdUO1RNuKB0
Recalled washing machines
The following models were manufactured from 2010 to 2013.
Survey question: When a safety problem is identified in a consumer product that has been sold, the manufacturer, retailers or government regulators may issue a public request and notification for the product to be returned or disposed of. Where would you expect
to see or hear about these recall notifications or advertisements?
The survey was designed and analysed by CHOICE with fieldwork by GMI/Lightspeed Research conducted with 1032 consumers aged 18-75 years between 15 and 21 September, 2015. Final data has been weighted to ensure it is representative of the Australian population based on the ABS Census 2011.