Samsung's Latest Headache: Reports That Washing Machines May Explode

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Samsung is facing another big problem with one of its products — reports of exploding top-loading washing machines.

The timing likely couldn't be less serendipitous. Earlier this month, Samsung recalled its new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after dozens of users reported that the batteries exploded or caught fire.

Both the consumer electronics company and the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued warnings to consumers this week about potential safety issues with some washers. This comes after a class-action lawsuit in New Jersey by U.S. consumers who say their machines exploded during normal use.

Samsung says the issue affects top loaders manufactured between March 2011 and April 2016, which "may experience abnormal vibrations" when washing certain items. It's not clear exactly how many washers are affected or whether the problem is limited to machines sold in the U.S.

Both Samsung and the CPSC say they are working together on a remedy for affected consumers, but they did not provide details.

They recommend that consumers with top-loading machines use the delicate cycle and avoid washing very heavy items, such as comforters or blankets. "Lower spin speed in the delicate cycle lessens the risk of impact injuries or property damage due to the washing machine becoming dislodged."

In an email to NPR, Consumers Union, which is the policy and action division of Consumer Reports magazine, says it has suspended its recommendation of Samsung's top-loading washers "in the face of mounting consumer complaints of what they called 'exploding machines.' "

It adds, "We are not aware of data on any other Samsung products that would cause us to re-evaluate our current recommendations."

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