First phones, now washing machines: Samsung washers pose risk, CPSC warns

Samsung is still trying to recall millions of smartphones for batteries that can burst into flames, and now there are reports that some of the company’s washing machines can “blow apart” if they are too heavily loaded.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warned in a bulletin Thursday that some washing machines made between March 2011 and April 2016 can violently open if overloaded with heavy items such as bedding.

“In rare cases, affected units may experience abnormal vibrations that could pose a risk of personal injury or property damage when washing bedding, bulky or water-resistant items,” Samsung said in a release.

The company didn’t provide a list of affected models, but said customers can check their serial numbers via a searchable database. Affected models were sold in the U.S. and Canada but not overseas. Front-load washers are not affected — only top-loading units.

The story comes on the heels of concerns about Samsung cellphones. A number of Galaxy Note 7 phones have burst into flames, causing injuries and property damage.

Samsung insists that the affected washing machine models have flawlessly performed “hundreds of millions” of loads of laundry without incident. But law firm Lieff Cabraser has launched a class-action lawsuit on behalf of plaintiffs who say their units blew apart.

“It was the loudest sound. It sounded like a bomb went off in my ear,” 32-year-old plaintiff Melissa Thaxton of Dallas, Ga., said in a statement. “There were wires, nuts, the cover actually was laying on the floor.

“I just remember covering my head, and leaning towards my son and just screaming this scream that I didn’t even know I could scream,” she said.

“The rod can slide right out,” lawyer Jason L. Lichtman said. “And that’s what causes the washing machine to blow apart.”

Users have reported Samsung top-load washers exploding as early as the day of installation, Lichtman said.

Samsung urges consumers with affected models to do their laundry on the lower-speed delicate cycle when washing bedding, bulky or water-resistant materials.

“There have been no reported incidents when using this cycle,” the company said.

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