INDIANAPOLIS — WRTV Investigates is digging into new complaints involving fridges that can’t stay cold.
It’s a problem WRTV revealed back in 2019 with Samsung refrigerators, and Central Indiana consumers say they’re still experiencing problems with the appliances.
Virginia Kirschner of Indianapolis bought her Samsung fridge back in 2013.
“This is my once a beautiful fridge that I spent a lot of money on and I absolutely loved the first year,” said Kirschner. “I was in heaven."
Kirschner says she’s not in a heaven, she’s in a hassle. The fridge is sitting unused in her garage.
“I paid $2,700 total with the warranty and taxes,” said Kirschner. “It’s now worthless. Absolutely worthless."
Kirschner says the problems started a year after she bought it.
“The ice maker was an issue — it was freezing up, clogging up all the time,” said Kirschner. “It didn't work."
Kirschner took video showing the sound her fridge makes when the fan freezes up.
She said the fridge was also having problems staying cold.
"My Samsung would show 34 degrees on the outside, but inside it was 65,” said Kirschner.
It’s important for a refrigerator to stay cold at 40 degrees or below, otherwise bacteria can multiply rapidly and food and medicine can go bad.
When WRTV Investigates first reported on the problem in 2019, a Facebook group with angry consumers had 7,000 members.
The group, Samsung Refrigerator Recall USA Now, where consumers post pictures and videos of their fridge problems now has more than 83,000 members.
The group is demanding Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall the refrigerators for safety reasons.
“Nobody is stepping in, nobody,” said Tom O’Shea, one of the group’s moderators. “People are getting sick. Medicines are going bad. Breast milk is going bad, and food is going bad."
He recommends consumers record every conversation and repair, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau in New Jersey, where Samsung's U.S. operations are based, and fight for a refund.
“It's disgusting, that's why I stay,” said Tom O’Shea. “We are the cheerleaders, it’s your money, get your money.”
WRTV Investigates found thousands of consumer complaints about Samsung fridges from across the country, including people from Indiana, to the Better Business Bureau and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, including some reports of people becoming sick from spoiled food.
One complaint to the CPSC filed this year said a 9-year-old child suffered food poisoning as a result of “unsafe temperatures” in the fridge.
An Indiana customer filed a complaint with the CPSC on July 14, 2021.
“Samsung refrigerator does not accurate keep temperature or show accurate temperature on measurement device inside unit,” read the Indiana report. “Food is at an unsafe temperature and Samsung does not address the issue. Fridge goes out completely without warning.”
The Indiana Attorney General’s office has received 44 complaints related to Samsung fridges since 2009, including one filed by Virginia Kirschner.
The state declined to say whether it plans to take any action.
“At any one time, the Office has multiple investigations related to consumer complaints, but it does not regularly identify those or elaborate on the plan or strategy for those investigations,” read a statement from the Indiana Attorney General’s office.
Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission have not yet issued a recall for the refrigerators.
“I do not have an update for you,” said Patty Davis, a spokesperson for the Consumer Product Safety Commission in an email to WRTV. “We cannot discuss if we plan to recall a product or not."
Samsung is also facing a class action lawsuit, filed in 2017, alleging the ice makers are defective.
The court document claims they cause "over-freezing in the ice compartment" "water leakage" and "fan noise."
The lawsuit also alleges Samsung has known about the defects "... for years and has taken no action to repair or replace the defective ice makers or the Class Refrigerators."
The class action lawsuit is still pending and is now in mediation.
Tom O’Shea has made YouTube videos to help people get refunds.
"We are making an impact,” said O’Shea. “We've got $7.8 million in refunds, damages, and exchanges in 27 months."
Kirschner is still fighting to get a full refund from Samsung.
She reached out to the company in 2020 after learning about the Samsung recall Facebook group.
"I’d like to have my money back,” said Kirschner.
Samsung has offered a partial refund, including an offer for $728 which included food-loss compensation.
The company provided the following statement to WRTV.
“Our customers are a top priority, and we are here to help,” read the Samsung statement. “Since the Kirschner family first reached out to us last year, we have consistently worked to ensure satisfaction with their 2013 refrigerator, including complimentary service. Our customer service team continues to work with the Kirschner family to reach a resolution. We stand by the millions of Samsung appliances across the country and remind any customer with a concern to contact us directly for assistance at 1-800-Samsung."
Kirschner had a 5-year warranty with the appliance store where she purchased her fridge, but that is now expired.
She says repair people have been out half a dozen times, but the problems are still not resolved with her Samsung fridge.
Kirschner said she finally bought another fridge, not a Samsung, to have in her kitchen.
“No one is acting on this,” said Kirschner. “We would like to know as a group why the government is not recalling potentially dangerous things that are in our house!"
She is sharing her story in the hopes of keeping people from getting sick.
“If they have a Samsung refrigerator in their home right now, they need to put a thermometer in it,” said Kirschner. “They need to be checking the temperatures to make sure it's safe for them."
If you have a safety concern with an appliance, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.