In case you haven't been following this one, we have as it is of interest in the industry, the class action raised by Whirlpool customers on the US over bad smells or odours from their front loading Whirlpool washing machine has been sent back for review by the US Supreme Court in a strange twist of fate.
The U.S. Supreme Court has effectively wiped out an appeals court ruling in favor of customers who bought front loading washing machines made by Whirlpool.
The court said the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision endorsing a group lawsuit, known as class-action certification, had to be reconsidered in light of the Supreme Court's ruling last week in another consumer case involving Comcast.
In the Comcast case, the court ruled in favor of the cable company over how much it charged a group of cable TV subscribers. The court said 2 million subscribers in the Philadelphia area could not sue Comcast as a group which meant, as we understand it, that Whirlpool customers could also not be allowed to pursue their claim as a group either.
The class-action against Whirlpool said that the high efficiency washing machine models were faulty because they emitted unpleasant odors.
Whirlpool says a class action is inappropriate under the rules governing federal lawsuits because the mold problem affected fewer than 3% of the appliance manufacturer’s washers.
Whirlpool's lawyers, in a petition seeking high court review, said that the case would also affect similar claims against the company and other manufacturers, including General Electric and Sears.
Whirlpool says the case is one of nine it faces around the country over the washers. Together, the suits involve more than 1.5 million buyers, the company said in its appeal. At least seven other manufacturers and sellers of front-loading washers are defendants in similar suits.
It would be our opinion however that, if the problem is affecting a number of brands and different models which, it clearly does, would common sense not dictate that the problem lies elsewhere? Surely the claimants are not suggesting that every single front loading washing machine is fundamentally flawed given that there are more than a few million in use and the problem of bad smells from a washing machine are hardly a new thing. The problem of course is that the issue with smelly washing machines has a lot more to do with how people use the washing machine, what they put in it and so on than the actual washing machine itself.
Perhaps offering customers better information on use and care would be a whole lot cheaper and, less hassle for everyone than a huge trial. Unless of course it's just about the money.
Or just send some free Affresh, there's an idea.