Settlement notifications have recently been sent out to 5.5 million owners of front-loading washing machines manufactured by Maytag, Whirlpool or Kenmore who purchased the washers between 2000-2010. Plaintiffs originally filed the suit in 2006, claiming the washers were defectively designed which caused the self-washing feature to fail and mold and mildew to build up in the barrel after each cycle.
As a result of the alleged mold build-up, many customers were complaining that freshly laundered clothes would emerge from the washer smelling moldy instead of clean. Additionally, some said that the smell coming from their washer was so strong that it was permeating other areas of their home.
Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants—Sears, the seller of the washers, and Whirlpool, the manufacturer of all of the machines listed in the suit—were aware of the defect before putting the product on the market and actively hid the problem from consumers. The settlement, which was nine years in the making, was reached in April 2016. Both Sears and Whirlpool maintain that nothing is wrong with the product, but rather, they claim that they agreed to settle the suit because they believe an on-going lawsuit would keep U.S. manufactures from further innovating their products.
Per the settlement agreement, customers who had a mold or odor problem with their washer within five years of purchase can claim $50 cash or a 20% cash rebate on the best-negotiated retail purchase price of certain washers or dryers made by Whirlpool. Additionally, consumers who did not experience a smell or mold issue within five years can still receive a cash rebate of 5% off their next purchase of a washer, dryer or laundry pair. Finally, any consumer who paid to have a moldy machine repaired within the first five years of purchase is entitled to reimbursement of the repair up to $500.
The deadline to file a claim in the suit is October 11, 2016.
The case is: In re Whirlpool Corp. Front-Loading Washers Settlement
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