Samsung makes it right in ‘exploding lid’ recall case

Washing machine owners said cable repairmen caused problems during recall fix

Lowe's workers deliver a new washer to a West Michigan woman whose recalled washer was "fixed" by Dish Network.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan woman got a special delivery over the weekend thanks to Target 8 and Samsung.

“Lowe’s is here to bring me my new washer and it’s not Samsung,” declared Natalie Cavagnetto, a single mom and fitness instructor who needs a dependable washing machine.

Target 8 was there when Lowe’s delivered Cavegnetto’s new washing machine, which she bought with the refund she received from Samsung.

Cavagnetto got Target 8 on Samsung’s case when she said the South Korean giant had hired DISH Network to do the repairs on recalled washing machines.

Samsung recalled 2.8 million top-loading washers in November because the vibrations were so violent the lids could detach and fly off. Samsung says it received 733 reports of top-load machines experiencing excessive vibration or the top detaching from the chassis. There were nine reports of injuries nationwide, including a broken jaw, injured shoulder and other impact or fall-related injuries.

Cavagnetto told Target 8 that the DISH technicians who reinforced her washer’s lid accidentally drilled through wires as well, causing more problems. When she told Samsung she had changed her mind and wanted the rebate instead of the repair, she was told no. But when Target 8 called Samsung, the company contacted Cavagnetto.

“They said, ‘What would you like us to do?'” Cavagnetto said. “And I said, ‘Well, I’d like a full refund,’ and they said ‘OK.’ They didn’t even have to put me on hold or anything. She just said, ‘OK.'”

That level of service in response to the “exploding lid” recall has not been the norm, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in West Michigan. The suit was filed on behalf of a woman in the Upper Peninsula by attorney Craig E. Hilborn of Hilborn and Hilborn PC out of Birmingham, Michigan.

“Amazingly, despite Samsung’s extensive experience with recalling products, Samsung is making life as difficult as possible for consumers,” the suit reads in part.

Among the suit’s allegations was that the rebate offered by Samsung doesn’t cover a fraction of the cost of a replacement. The suit also claims that Samsung is not using “individuals qualified to repair or evaluate” machines.

“They’re a DISH company, come on,” said Andrea Baird, another Samsung customer who was less than impressed with DISH’s fix. “They didn’t know what they were doing.”

The Saranac woman reached out to Target 8 after seeing the initial report in early February. She told Target 8 that the DISH technician who reinforced her lid accidentally cracked her washer’s back panel. She also said that after the DISH repair, the washer would only run hot water.

“I just wish they’d give me a new washing machine that worked right,” Baird said. “And that I would have to deal with the runaround I’ve dealt with.”

Target 8 reached out to Samsung about Baird’s situation as well. Minutes before her story aired on Monday, Baird texted Target 8 to say that Samsung had reached out to her offering a refund.

Both Samsung and DISH Network have responded promptly to Target 8’s calls regarding problems with recall repairs.

“I’m really excited this worked out,” Natalie Cavagnetto said.

She used the refund she received from Samsung to buy a new LG washing machine. This time, she bought the extended warranty, just to be extra careful.

Samsung provided this statement:

“Our priority is to reduce any safety risks in the home. We are aware of Ms. Baird’s experience and have reached out to her to apologize and offer support. We are also working with our authorized service partners to better understand her unique experience. Our nationwide network of service providers are trained to perform the repair, and allow us to reach consumers as quickly as possible after a repair is schedule. A list of our major authorized service partners can be found on our website at Samsung.com/us/TLW, and before any in-home visit, we inform consumers which service partner will be performing their repair. We strongly encourage anyone with questions about a recalled machine or authorized service visit to contact us at 1-866-264-5636.”

DISH provided this statement:

“DISH is serving with Samsung as an authorized repair partner, providing convenient, in-home washing machine repair for impacted customers nationwide. We are working with Samsung to understand what happened in this instance as quickly as possible.

“As an authorized repair partner, we’ve worked with Samsung to develop training for DISH technicians, which includes hands-on experience that equips our technicians to reinforce each machine with repair parts provided by Samsung.

“With highly-skilled technicians capable of reaching any home in the U.S. on any given day, DISH’s flexible workforce was well-positioned to quickly respond to Samsung’s needs. Over the years, we’ve gradually expanded the capabilities of our trusted technicians. Today, we assist DISH and non-DISH customers with the nuts and bolts of TV, audio and in-home wireless networks installation, as well as smartphone repair.”