Samsung’s poor attention to product quality has once again put the lives of thousands of Australians at risk and prompted the NSW government to step in and takeover the massive recall of 150,000 washing machines. Despite its market dominance and billions of dollars, the company has at its disposal, Samsung has only managed to track down 51% of these highly dangerous products.
Yesterday, NSW Fair Trading Minister Victor Dominello issued a Government recall to Samsung regarding six top loader washing machine models.
The serious fact that only 51% of these machines have been reported back to Samsung since a voluntary recall in 2013 has prompted the Government to step in. The move to a Government recall is seen as a strong signal of its commitment to continue efforts to get any affected machines repaired.
According to Dominello, “The previous ‘voluntary’ recall may have led some people to think it was optional to take part – far from it. Affected consumers need to take action and have their washing machine inspected and repaired.”
A burnt out Samsung washing machine that wasn’t recalled.
Dominello said consumers should be mindful of the potential dangers associated with the affected model machines.
“Don’t wait until it is too late. It is time for consumers to take action and check the model numbers of their Samsung top loader washing machines,” he said.
“If a consumer does have an affected machine, they should only use it if they are present or nearby to monitor it and contact Samsung to arrange a free inspection and repair. If a consumer notices any smoke or smell coming out of the machine, they should turn it off at the power point.”
Machines that are yet to be inspected by Samsung pose a fire risk as moisture may penetrate electrical connectors within one area of the machine causing a fire hazard.
Samsung leadership slow to act
Samsung Electronics Australia has a legacy of being slow to act to recall poor quality products prompting at least one senior executive to leave the company due to the intransigence of the Korean leadership around recalling poor quality products.
The main hurdle of dealing with such matters promptly by Samsung’s managing directors has been their perception that Samsung would ‘lose face’ in the marketplace.
One former Samsung executive who now holds an executive position outside the appliance industry told Appliance Retailer, “Samsung is a tough company to work for because of the pressure of meeting every increasing sales targets, but that is normal in Korean companies and we are all used to it. But, what concerned me the most was the reluctance by senior management to issue a recall on a television that could fall over and harm a child.”
“It was then I knew that I had to move on from the company,” he said.
The product that he is referring to is the Samsung 55 Inch Television Stand and it was finally recalled in 2009.
The base of the television was affixed to the top of the Perspex stand by 4 screws. The neck of the stand was also affixed to the base of the stand by way of a further 6 screws. Cracks positioned around the location of the screws had appeared in some models.
It was finally admitted by Samsung that this could cause potential instability of some televisions on their stands. If cracking of the perspex stand occurred and was allowed to progress, it was possible that some televisions could dislodge from their stands and present a crushing hazard.