By Craig Zammit
USA: Samsung and Maytag have announced a voluntary recall of approximately 270,000 front load washing machines after reports of a potential fire hazard surfaced, but both brands insist the fault does not affect the Australian market.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, almost 250,000 faulty Maytag front loading washing machines, with model numbers beginning with MAH9700 or MAH8700, and 20,000 faulty Samsung front loaders, model WF306BHW or model numbers beginning with WF316, were sold at major department and appliance stores across North America from April 2005 through August 2006 for between $US1,000 and $US1,200.
The fault identified in the washers involved water leaking onto the electrical connections to the washing machine’s thermal sensor which could cause an electrical short and potentially ignite a circuit board, posing a fire hazard to consumers.
Maytag, which is owned globally by Whirlpool Corporation, received five reports of incidents involving ignition in the circuit board, while Samsung has received only one report, but at this stage no injuries, fires or property damage outside the washing machine have been reported.
Whirlpool Australia senior category manager – laundry, Michael Van Raay stated that the OEM sourced Maytag front load washing machine recall in the USA “does not relate to Maytag products in Australia”.
“This product recall is limited to front loaders manufactured in South Korea and Maytag Australia has never imported or distributed this range of front loaders in Australia,” said Van Raay.
Samsung Australia also confirmed that no products in Australia are at risk.
"The recall in the US has nothing to do with product sold in Australia and we do not want to cause any concern among our retailers or consumers,” said Samsung Electronics Australia general manager – corporate marketing, Kurt Jovais.
“The recall is in relation to specific models manufactured in South Korea, and as such, no front-loading washing machines being sold in Australia is subject to the recall.
"It is a completely different product, from a completely different factory, with a completely different country of manufacture, using different electrical components – it is a completely different product,” he said.