Crushing the spin cycle
In August, CHOICE crushed two of Samsung's recalled machines as an awareness-raising exercise. Since then, return rates have seen a big uplift. Customers have returned 11,481 machines this past month, which is four times the average number of returns per month (2571) experienced in the first 29 months of the recall.
This now brings the total rectification rate to 60% of a total 144,451 faulty machines, with this month's returns accounting for 13% of all resolutions since the recall began in April 2013.
In addition to CHOICE stepping up its campaign, the ACCC also released definitive guidance in August that the fault with the machines constituted a major failure and that consumers were entitled to choose their remedy – be it a refund, replacement or repair.
While the number of refunds has increased dramatically since the ACCC's announcement, the number of machines repaired in the past month remains high at 6508.
In conducting its recall, Samsung offered consumers a repair (which it is entitled to do provided it fixes the problem). However, Samsung's offer of a repair doesn't diminish consumers rights to choose a remedy if the fault with the product is major.
CHOICE spoke with Ms Rickard back in August to clarify whether consumers who had already received the repair from Samsung would be entitled to a refund or replacement. Ms Rickard confirmed the ACCC's position, saying: "If you're only offered a repair, you still have your right to exercise your consumer guarantees."
Since the recall began there have been 224 incidents of which at least 76 were fires as a result of the faulty machines.
Getting a refund