Problems with replacement Samsung washing machines

Consumers report incidents with Samsung washing machines that replaced recalled top loaders.

Replacement machines in the spotlight

Two of the Samsung washing machines models that were given as replacements for faulty recalled machines have reportedly also had faults.

CHOICE is aware of at least four incidents with the models, which are not on the recall list, where the machines let off smoke and a burning plastic smell, resulting in the top plastic rim of the machine being melted.

The machines are Samsung's 8kg top loader machine (model number WA80F5G4DJW) and the 8.5kg top loader model (WA85J6750SW).

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Smoke and electrical smell

Jodi Snashall bought one of the 8kg top loader machines and within the first month found that the top rim melted while washing her son's bedding on the "bedding" cycle. The washing machine's manual says the bedding cycle is for "bulky items such as blankets and sheets".

Ms Snashall told CHOICE there was smoke and an electrical smell. "It sounded like it was going to blow up," she says.

Her machine was replaced by Harvey Norman, but the same problem happened with the replacement machine. Ms Snashall contacted Samsung in August this year to let them know but she says they were not interested.

Another affected customer who was given the 8kg machine as a replacement for her recalled machine posted on Facebook saying the machine "suddenly started spinning out of control before a burning smell and smoke". She said there was "hot melted plastic all the way around where the drum has obviously come in contact with the plastic".

According to Samsung, the 8kg top loader was first released in June 2013, several months after its recall of 144,000 faulty machines in April of the same year. 

Samsung responds

When CHOICE asked Samsung about the incidents, the manufacturer responded with a statement saying: "Samsung Electronics Australia is investigating these instances as a matter of urgency in order to determine the nature of the problem. As with any issue that may impact our customers, we are taking this very seriously. We are in contact with the customers who have experienced this problem to provide a resolution."

Anyone having troubles with their replacement Samsung machine should contact Fair Trading as well as Samsung to let them know. 

TV ad

Earlier this year, CHOICE made this ad to raise awareness about Samsung's recalled washing machines. 

Samsung will reassess 32,000 top loader washing machines which have already been "repaired" as part of a recall process which has dragged out for nearly three years.

The backflip in Samsung's recall strategy comes in the wake of two fires and a further 25 incidents with recalled machines that have already been repaired by Samsung, raising questions about the effectiveness of the fix put in place by Samsung.

Meanwhile, NSW Fire and Rescue is considering asking the State Coroner to hold an inquiry into the fires involving Samsung washing machines. 

Own one of Samsung's recalled machines? Find out how to get a refund below.

Transparency needed

In 2013, Samsung recalled 144,451 top loader washing machines after it found problems with condensation on the electrical connectors.

For the first two years of the recall, Samsung was only offering consumers a repair, which involved installing a fire-retardant plastic bag over the electrical connectors.

"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," says CHOICE's head of media Tom Godfrey.

"We believe Samsung should cease reworking faulty machines until an independent and transparent review of the rework solution is undertaken," says Godfrey.

While many consumers have been exercising their right to receive a refund or a replacement for their faulty Samsung washing machines following a definitive statement released by the ACCC last year and a vigorous campaign by CHOICE, repaired machines still account for the largest proportion of rectified machines.

"This latest decision means there may be approximately 70,000 potentially hazardous washing machines in homes across Australia," says Godfrey.

"Repairs" still being defended

Despite the incidents with repaired machines, Samsung has stood by its repair job. When CHOICE questioned Samsung about it back in July last year, Samsung said: "We are 100% confident of the rework process where applied in accordance with the instructions provided to the trained technicians. The rework is a complete solution that, when applied correctly by a trained technician, eliminates the risk of an affected top loader washing machine overheating, smoking or catching fire".

NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello also backed the repair job saying that "the reworked machines meet the safety requirements of Australian Standards and are independently certified following repair".

Samsung Electronics Australia corporate vice president Phillip Newton said in a statement that "Samsung is making significant changes to the washing machine recall to address customers' key concerns. The recall is unprecedented in its size and complexity, but this is not an excuse. We are committed to continuing to improve our operations."

In total, there have been at least 82 fires and 180 incidents with Samsung's recalled machines.

The six models affected as part of the recall include:

  • SW75V9WIP
  • SW65V9WIP

The models were manufactured between 2010 and 2013.

Your rights

We're reminding anyone who has an affected machine of their rights under Australian Consumer Law.

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.

For those with a repaired machine, if these rights weren't disclosed at the time of the repair we believe they should be allowed to have their reworked machine refunded or replaced at no penalty.

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.

How reliable is your washing machine? Compare brands in our washing machine reliability survey.

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.

If you bought one of over 144,000 recalled Samsung washing machines with faulty wiring, then you're entitled to a refund. This applies even if you're one of the 80,000 people who've already had the machine repaired, or if you have one of the 3746 machines which were reworked at the warehouse prior to sale.

Following definitive guidance from the ACCC last week, Samsung has also released a public statement saying it is offering refunds to people with the recalled machines.

"Where a consumer indicates that they are dissatisfied with the re-work of their affected unit, Samsung will replace or refund the customer's unit. This is of course in addition to Samsung's existing policy to provide affected consumers with models yet to be reworked with either a rework, replacement or refund at the consumer's election," Samsung said in its statement.

I have a Samsung washing machine – what should I do?

  1. Check if your model number is affected
  2. Those with one of the following six model numbers should seek a remedy as soon as possible:

    • SW75V9WIP
    • SW65V9WIP
    • SW70SPWIP
    • SW80SPWIP
    • WA85GWGIP
    • WA85GWWIP

    You're entitled to the refund if you've bought a recalled model even if:

    • you've already had your machine repaired; or
    • your machine was reworked in the factory prior to sale.
  3. You can either contact your retailer to ask for a refund or Samsung directly.
    • It may be easiest to contact your retailer first. For example, Harvey Norman and The Good Guys have already gone on record saying they will offer consumers refunds if they have a recalled Samsung washing machine.
    • You can also contact Samsung directly on the Samsung Product Safety Hotline on 1800 239 655 (8am - 8pm, 7 days a week).
  4. If you're still having trouble, contact NSW Fair Trading to let them know.

More washing machine advice

The ACCC has delivered definitive guidance on consumers' rights in the wake of the recall of Samsung's top loader washing machines, saying the fault with the machines constitutes a major failure and that consumers are entitled to choose their remedy – be it a refund, replacement or repair.

Even the 80,000 plus consumers who've already had a repair on their recalled Samsung top loader machines still have the right to exercise their consumer guarantees, ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard told CHOICE. 

In 2013, Samsung recalled around 144,000 of its top loader washing machines after discovering they posed a fire risk. The machines have an "internal fault where condensation can penetrate an electrical connector causing deterioration which may in turn cause a fire," the ACCC said in a statement. Since the recall began there have been at least 207 fires or fire-related incidents as a result of the faulty machines.

Fault is major failure

Recently, the ACCC became aware that some consumers with recalled Samsung machines were having troubling getting a replacement or a refund.

"The ACCC is investigating these reports. If consumers purchased an affected Samsung washing machine, they have the right under the Australian Consumer Law to choose their remedy, which includes a refund, replacement or repair," Ms Rickard said in a statement today.

"The recalled Samsung washing machines fail to comply with the consumer guarantee of acceptable quality, as they have a major safety failure. In these circumstances, the consumers have a choice of remedy which is not overtaken by the electrical safety recall," Ms Rickard said.

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 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." That's the ACCC's position, but it may not be without contest, she said. 

Any consumer still having trouble exercising their consumer guarantees should contact NSW Fair Trading, Ms Rickard said. 

Samsung's repair

Samsung's repair involved covering the electrical wires with a plastic bag. Samsung has said it is "100% confident" with the fix, but some consumers remain concerned.

"The rework solution has been tested by an independent and certified testing body and has passed all required safety testing requirements. The rework solution has also been accepted as appropriate by NSW Fair Trading," a Samsung spokesperson told CHOICE.

Since the recall began, a little over half have been repaired, with some consumers getting a replacement or a refund.

Do you have a recalled Samsung washing machine?

Six Samsung washing machine models manufactured between 1 February 2010 and 28 February 2013 have been recalled.

Model name and number details can be found on the back of the washing machine. Affected models are:


Read more about what to do if you have a recalled machine on Samsung's FAQs.

Want to know more?

Harvey Norman and The Good Guys are doing what Samsung isn't, and offering upfront refunds to their customers who've bought one of the manufacturer's recalled washing machine models.

Samsung has recalled 140,000 faulty washing machines after some caught fire, but is repairing the machines with a fire-retardant plastic bag and tape rather than offering a refund.

If you'd prefer a refund to a repair or a replacement, but you didn't buy your machine from a retailer offering a refund, use our template letter to request a refund from Samsung.

Harvey Norman and The Good Guys make an offer

The two major retailers are discouraging consumers from accepting the fair trading-approved repair on recalled Samsung washing machines, with Harvey Norman's chief operating officer John Slack-Smith saying consumers are owed a refund, as he believes it is a "major" failure as defined by by Australian Consumer Law. He told News Ltd: "If a franchisee rang me and said 'a customer had a plastic bag repair but is now not happy with that and wants a refund', I'd tell them go ahead, straight away."

Geoff Reader, The Good Guys chief merchandise officer, strongly discourages consumers from having their washing machine repaired, and extends the refund to people who've already had their machine repaired.

"Customers who have already had their machine repaired by Samsung remain eligible to have their unit replaced or refunded," he told CHOICE.

There have been a total of 207 incidents across the six recalled models of Samsung top loaders at the beginning of August, and 18 incidents on fixed machines as of 15 July.

Samsung has said that its repairs were known to both the ACCC and NSW Fair Trading, and that they were applied by a qualified technician.

The News Ltd article estimated Samsung would have to shell out around $100 million to reimburse retailers for refunding customers.

Need washing machine advice?

CHOICE has crushed two dodgy Samsung top loaders at Sydney Metal Traders in Greenacre so they no longer present a danger to consumers.

The stunt was an awareness-raising exercise to highlight an ongoing fault with the wiring of six Samsung top load washing machines that's caused over 200 fires and fire-related incidents in Australian homes. 

Video: CHOICE crushes dodgy Samsung washing machines to end the 'spin cycle'

{YouTube Video}

Samsung issued a voluntary recall of the machines in April 2013, but at the beginning of August 2015 only 51% of the machines had been repaired or replaced.

"With 207 fires or incidents across Australia caused by Samsung's recalled washing machines, we felt it was time to crush the spin cycle and get the message through to consumers that they need to act," says CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey. 

Do you own one of the recalled washing machines? Would you prefer a refund to a replacement? Use our template letter.

The recalled washing machines

The affected models were manufactured from 2010 to 2013. See Samsung's washing machine recall FAQ for more information.

  • SW75V9WIP
  • SW65V9WIP

burnt washing machine

Many owners unaware of recall

The consequences of Samsung's faulty washing machines are very real. Earlier this year, Emma Jordan's newly built house was badly damaged when her Samsung washing machine caught fire. Prior to the incident, she hadn't heard anything about the recall.

Need a new washing machine? We've thoroughly tested over 70 new machines to help you choose the best model for your home.

Problems continue

With over 70,000 machines still in people's homes, incidents may continue to happen if the machines are not repaired.

So why isn't Samsung doing more to alert its customers about its recall of faulty washing machines? 

Samsung has run a recall campaign across print, online and radio. However, it stopped short of a TV advert - an advertising medium it's not been shy to use to promote its products.

We think the business responsible for putting the dodgy products on the market should be doing all they possibly can to protect the public following their failure. Recalls should not be about notices that look more like polished marketing collateral than a serious public warning.  And that's why we're crushing Samsung's spin cycle.

"If you have a potentially faulty Samsung washing machine it is time to act to protect your family. The fact is, you do not want one of these dodgy Samsung washing machines in your home," Mr Godfrey says.

CHOICE welcomes NSW Fair Trading's recent decision to make the Samsung recall mandatory.

More washing machine advice