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New class-action lawsuit filed against Samsung regarding 'defective' fridges

Consumers say fridges won't stay cold
Virginia's Fridge.jpg
Posted at 2:13 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-22 14:28:19-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Samsung customers have filed a new class-action lawsuit alleging the company’s refrigerators don’t keep food cold enough.

It’s an update to a problem WRTV Investigates has been tracking since 2019 regarding Indiana consumers experiencing problems with their Samsung refrigerators.

Customers Matthew Jordan and Lisa Saghy and their attorneys filed the class-action lawsuit on May 13 in New Jersey, where Samsung’s U.S. operations are based.

The lawsuit alleges the fridges are defective, fail to keep food at a safe temperature, yet Samsung routinely denies warranty claims.

The newly filed lawsuit includes refrigerators with a twin-door design or French doors design at the top with a freezer drawer at the bottom.

The at-issue models include, but are not limited to: RF28HMEDBSR/AA, RFG298HDRS/XAA, RF28HDEDBSR/AA, RF26HFENDSR, RF26J7500SR, and RF27T5201SG

The refrigerators range in price from approximately $1,000 to $3,000 and come with an express, one-year manufacturer’s warranty, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit is separate from efforts by the group, Samsung Refrigerator Recall USA Now, where consumers post pictures and videos of their fridge problems now has more than 107,000 members.

When WRTV first reported on the complaints in 2019, the group had 7,000 members.

Virginia Kirschner, of Indianapolis, is a member of the group and 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,” Kirschner said. “I was in heaven."

The fridge is sitting unused in her garage.

“I paid $2700 total with the warranty and taxes,” Kirschner said. “It’s now worthless. Absolutely worthless."

Kirschner said the problems started a year after she bought it.

“The ice maker was an issue- -it was freezing up, clogging up all the time,” Kirschner said. “It didn't work."

Kirschner took videos 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,” Kirschner said.

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.

The group Samsung Refrigerator Recall USA Now is demanding Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall the refrigerators for safety reasons.

“Nobody is stepping in, nobody,” Tom O’Shea, one of the group’s moderators, said. “People are getting sick. Medicines are going bad. Breast milk is going bad, and food is going bad"

O’Shea 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,” O’Shea said. “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 nine-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,” the Indiana report read. “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 at least 61 complaints related to Samsung fridges since 2009, including one filed by 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,” a statement from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office read.

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,” Patty Davis, a spokesperson for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in an email to WRTV. “We cannot discuss if we plan to recall a product or not."

Samsung is also facing another class action lawsuit, filed in 2017, alleging the ice makers are defective.

The 2017 lawsuit alleges 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.

O’Shea has made YouTube videos to help people get refunds.

"We are making an impact,” O’Shea said. “We've got 7.8 million dollars 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,” Kirschner said.

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. 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 five-year warranty with the appliance store where she purchased her fridge, but that is now expired.

She said 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,” Kirschner said. “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,” Kirschner said. “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.

You can also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and the Indiana Attorney General.

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