Vanishing Rebate Checks, Canceled Appointments: Stories Of Samsung’s Turbulent Washer Recall

Last November, Samsung recalled nearly 3 million top-loading washing machines amid complaints about violent vibrations, “explosions”, and one broken jaw. The company offered the choice of an in-home repair, a rebate on a new machine, or a complete refund for recently purchased machines. That was nearly four months ago, but a number of Samsung washer owners tells us they’ve been frustrated with whichever option they selected.

Samsung’s washing machine woes came to light after a number of customers went public with claims that their top-loading Samsung washers had a tendency to shake and break apart while in normal use.

Ultimately, it was determined that excessive vibration can cause the top of these washers to detach from the chassis.

Samsung and the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of 34 different washer models in November, based on at least 733 complaints related to excessive vibration, nine of which involved injuries, including the previously mentioned broken jaw.

As part of the recall, owners were given three options:
1. A free in-home repair and a free one-year extension of the manufacturer’s warranty;

2. A rebate to be applied toward the purchase of a new washing machine, along with free installation of the new unit and removal of old unit;

3. A full refund for consumers who purchased their washing machine within the past 30 days of the recall announcement.

While a handful of Consumerist readers report that they were able to navigate the recall process easily, many others tell us that working with Samsung has been challenging.

Is The Check In The Mail?

Image courtesy of frankieleon

Owners of the recalled Samsung machines say that the process for a refund or rebate seemed fairly clear-cut: contact the company, fill out paperwork, buy a new washer (if applicable), fill out more paperwork, then finally receive a check.

Yet, some owners say that simply isn’t happening.

William, who says his washing machine is part of the recall but not currently exhibiting any of the related issues, tells Consumerist that he’s had a difficult time contacting the company.

“Samsung is ignoring me,” says William. “I went online with Samsung and completed the paperwork and they said information would be sent to me within a few weeks on how to schedule repairs or refund.”

That was in November, and as of late January, he still hadn’t heard back.

Sara tells Consumerist she’s suffered from a “complete runaround in trying to get a refund check from Samsung.”

She says that she sent Samsung the appropriate paperwork in November through certified mail. Even given them the full four-to-six weeks for processing, she should have heard something by mid-December, but that date came and went.

“Since then they have been giving me different information each time I call,” she tells us. “Their website has been showing a status of ‘completed’ for quite some time now.”

The last she heard from the company, the check was in the mail. When it didn’t arrive she called the number given to her by the company. At that point, Sara says she was told an entirely different story.

“I’m not sure they even intend to send refunds at all,” Sara says.

Matt purchased his Samsung washer in Sept. 2016, putting him just outside the 30-day window for a full refund. Instead, he opted for the rebate option, in which the owner is supposed to receive a check whose amount is based on the manufacture date and model of the recalled washer. Those who choose to replace their recalled machine with a new Samsung washer are also supposed to receive an “additional loyalty incentive up to $150 toward their new Samsung washer purchase,” according to the company.

Matt says he was told he would receive $412 for his all-but brand new washer. He then went to the store and purchased a new Samsung washer. So far, the new machine has worked fine, but despite mailing his paperwork in mid-November, he hasn’t received the check from Samsung.

Some owners of the recalled machines tell Consumerist that they first tried to go the route of repairs, but after running into several issues (more on that later), they opted for a rebate.

Mike says he had a difficult time reaching the Samsung recall number, as it was always “full,” even when he called first thing in the morning.

“A week or two later, I received an email from another company to set up an appointment,” he recalls. “By that time, we decided to buy a new washer and get the rebate.”

While the machine has been delivered he hasn’t received his rebate.

Jerry tells a similar story, noting that he tried three different times to schedule a repair visit. After three weeks, he also opted to purchase a new machine. He’s still waiting for rebate.

“I hope that doesn’t fall under the same department as the repair,” he tells Consumerist.

Reader Dan tells Consumerist that he almost immediately decided to go the rebate route with his washing machine, submitting all of the paperwork on Nov. 7.

“That is 12 weeks ago,” he told Consumerist in January. “After numerous phone calls they finally told me they did not receive the rebate form.”

He resubmitted the information, but has been waiting “not so patiently.”

Constantly Canceled

Image courtesy of CPSC

A rep for Samsung tells Consumerist that the fix for these recalled machines involves sending out an authorized Samsung field technician to install “structural reinforcements to the machine.” The process is expected to take less than an hour from the time the tech arrives.

RELATED: WHY IS A DISH NETWORK TECH FIXING MY SAMSUNG WASHER?

Just how long customers will have to wait for the technician to be available for repairs varies depending on location, but Samsung’s recall website notes the average is seven days.

Yet owners tell Consumerist that they’ve waited a lot longer than seven days to get someone to their house.

“I don’t have any major problems right now, but Samsung is ignoring me,” one owner, Gabby, told Consumerist. “I went online with Samsung and completed the paperwork and they said information would be sent to me within a few weeks on how to schedule a repair. That was in November.”

Many owners told similar stories: They either can’t get a hold of Samsung or the repair appointments they’ve scheduled have been canceled.

Angela says that she opted to have her washer repaired because buying a new machine wasn’t in her budget, and the rebate offered by Samsung wasn’t enough to offset the cost of a new appliance.

But when she tried to schedule a repair it quickly became confusing: she was contacted by a repair tech for a satellite TV service. She says she didn’t realize it was a call about her repair appointment, and that she just thought someone was trying to sell her on getting a pay-TV package.

“Once I figured it out, I told them I wasn’t comfortable with a TV provider fixing my appliance,” said Angela. The last we heard she was still waiting for an appointment.

Pat tells Consumerist that her experience with the recall repair has been nothing short of a nightmare, despite registering with the company immediately after the recall was announced.

“Samsung sent me emails canceling the appointment — that they never set in the first place — three times,” she said, adding that calls to Samsung “get promises of callbacks that don’t come.”

George tells Consumerist that he set up a repair with Samsung, but he spent a half day waiting for a no-show.

“I called midday and asked about the repairman and was assured they would show up,” he says. “They didn’t and that was two weeks ago.”

That was also the case for reader Al, who was contacted by a Dish Satellite installer for an appointment that never took place.

“My first appointment was changed by Samsung without my approval,” he says, noting that he had to call Dish Network — who was supposed to be doing the repair on Samsung’s behalf — to reschedule. The next attempt also didn’t happen, as the installer didn’t have proper brackets. A third rescheduled visit was also canceled for lack of brackets.

“That’s been it — about a month now and no calls, and frankly I haven’t bothered,” he tells Consumerist. “I don’t wash any of the dangerous materials. And I fail to see how adding some brackets will keep the motor from blowing apart the washing machine.”

Michelle says that her elderly parents have had three scheduled appointments canceled at the last minute.

“Even worse, one of the appointments, they got a message saying something like ‘now that your machine has been repaired,’” she says, despite the fact the machine has yet to be fixed.

Jim tells us that he was able to get his machine fixed, but the journey to that point was frustrating.

After contacting Samsung in November to set up a repair appointment, Jim says the session was canceled two days later due to lack of parts. Two weeks after that, the repairman said he had to cancel the appointment altogether because he was overbooked.

At that point, Jim had to call Samsung again because the file was mistakenly closed. He was then set up with another provider a state over, but the day before the appointment it was canceled again. In the end, a Dish Network tech made the fix in mid-December.

“I’m glad it’s finally resolved,” he says.

A rep for Samsung tells Consumerist that the company is constantly listening to and learning from every consumer’s experience in order to improve our processes.

A rep for Samsung urged customers who have issues with the recall process — whether it be rebates, refunds, or repairs — to contact the company at 1-866-264-5636.

THE STORY CONTINUES: Samsung Washing Machine Owners Complain Of New Problems After Recall Repair

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