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Smelly Washer Settlement

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Reports filtering out of the USA this morning suggest that the smelly washing machine class action lawsuit may be finally drawing to a close but, manufacturers are not going completely quietly.

It is reported that customers who have an issue can claim a rebate on a new machine and a refund of out of pocket costs, if they can support the claim with evidence of receipts and so on. For most we would imagine that will be difficult.

There is supposed to be another way to claim any expenses but the system of accomplishing that is not fully clear as yet.

This information is provisional however as the court still has to sign and seal the deal.

What is interesting is that the manufacturers, including some that are not exactly the best of pals, appear to have spoken in unison about the issue and all issuing the same or very similar advice to that we’ve been giving people for many years.

The reports indicate that less than 3 percent owners have reported instances of odour or mould in their washing machines.

Both issues can be taken care of by following most product use and care instructions that come with your machine: Use a high-efficiency detergent-- keep the washer door slightly open when not in use -- run a monthly clean washer cycle and, if needed, use products designed for washing machine cleaning and deodorising such as Affresh or similar.

The reason they recommend the likes of Affresh to tackle this is that unlike many of the home-brew solutions such as vinegar, lemon juice and various flavours of baking sodas and whatnot is that Affresh actually tackles the root cause, the build up of bacteria. Most other so called solutions merely mask the smell.

So to be fair to the manufacturers, that is the correct advice when it comes to a smelly washing machines.

Whirlpool specifically seem to be claim that there have been false allegations made in lawsuits about their front loading washing machines made before 2009, and these are said to be are without merit.

The plaintiff attorneys driving this litigation are hoping to collect millions of dollars in fees – even on behalf of the more than 97 percent of owners of these machines who are completely satisfied and have no complaints. Uhh, the lawyers a payday over a pretty weak claim, who’d have thought eh?

Whirlpool goes on to post out that front loading washers offer users considerable benefits over older generation top loaders as they use significantly less water and electricity, washing more clothes in a single load, and providing far better cleaning performance and fabric care.

Whirlpool reiterate that they stand behind their products, and Whirlpool’s front loading washers are repeatedly ranked among the best washers on the market.

Here’s where it gets interesting as a number of brands in the US have faced similar claims, probably a degree of people or, if you were as cynical as we are, solicitors jumping on the gravy train… sorry, bandwagon of course to protect consumers and not line their own pockets.

Statement from Sears Holdings

Other manufacturers and retailers, like Bosch, Electrolux, GE, and Samsung are facing similar lawsuits, but the overwhelming majority of our members are pleased with their Kenmore front-loading washing machines. To control odour, mould, and mildew in their washing machines, our members always should follow the instructions in the use and care guide for their washing machine. For more information on the topic from the industry association, please see the statement provided by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers: http://www.aham.org/consumer/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/id/43663 .

Statement from LG Electronics

PROPER USE AND MAINTENANCE IMPORTANT FOR FRONT-LOAD WASHERS

In light of periodic news reports raising questions about “mould” in front-load washing machines, LG Electronics USA reiterates the importance of proper use and maintenance.

Laundry odours can occur for a variety of reasons, and the number of mould reports represents a very small percentage of units installed in consumers’ homes. This is not a new issue as claims have been made against all major manufacturers over the years.

For all front-load laundry purchasers, LG emphasises proper use and routine maintenance.

LG recommends using the correct amount of High-Efficiency (HE) detergent for front-load washers.

A washer cleaning solution developed for front-loaders may also be used periodically.

Additional maintenance suggestions and consumer tips, including information on LG’s “tub clean” cycle, can be found in the user’s manual.

LG has also developed a variety of features on its front-load washers to help consumers better care for their washers, including:

Exclusive magnetic door ventilation feature to ensure the wash tub stays fresh in-between loads. LG has designed a clever magnet that props the door open ever so slightly to allow fresh air to circulate in the wash tub without getting in the way.

Redesigned antimicrobial door gasket with drain holes to help the gasket dry more quickly to keep mold and mildew away.

High-powered “Tub Clean” cycle that removes detergent residue to keep odors and mildew away; it is recommended that consumers run this cycle every month to help keep the washer clean and fresh.

Customer satisfaction with LG front-load laundry products is extremely high, and LG consistently receives accolades from independent testing organizations on our washers and dryers.

As an industry leader and technology innovator in front-load laundry, we appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight on this industry issue.

Statement from GE

While we cannot comment on pending litigation, GE stands behind its laundry products. As with all of our products, if a consumer experiences a problem, we will work to remedy their issue. In general, to avoid mildew issues, follow the particular product’s use and care instructions. In front-load washing machines, manufacturers recommend that consumers (1) use only the recommended amount of high-efficiency detergent; (2) leave the door slightly open when the machine is not in use; and (3) and once a month, run a cycle to clean the inside of your washer.

Additionally, it is always a good practice to not leave wet clothes in the washer for an extended period of time.

The Spin

Of course the manufacturers PR departments try to spin this into a "we've got tech that makes us better" or "we make the best machines" type of thing but, even when you get past that the advice is largely the same from them all.

To an extent they are also probably laying the foundations to kick any future similar suits into touch before they even get off the ground. And, rightly so as our take is that this is nothing new at all and will invariably come down to use, not a problem with the machines themselves. A system that allows people to make a claim against manufacturers for their own poor use of said manufacturers product/s is, flawed.

So in short, pretty much every front loading washing machine can have these “problems” and the manufacturers in broad terms at least along with us and others in teh industry, are all issuing the same guidance on how to avoid it. And, it’s only a minority of people that have any problems.

What do you think that tells us?

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