Owners of a Whirlpool, Kenmore, or Maytag front-loading washing machine manufactured between 2001 and 2010, you may be eligible for up to $500 in cash or a voucher toward a new washer as part of a class action settlement.
The case began in 2013, when WRTV reported that lawyers were accusing top companies such as Kenmore, Maytag, and Whirlpool of producing defective front-loading washing machines that breed mold, mildew, or other odor problems. The manufacturers were alleged to have turned a blind eye to the problem despite knowing about it, resulting in ruined clothes and potentially hundreds of wasted dollars for consumers.
Ruth Ogden of Gas City, Indiana was one such consumer, according to WRTV. Ogden bought a Whirlpool Duet front loader around 2004 and started noticing an odor in her clothes a year later. At first she attributed the odor to her teenage son, but one day she opened the soap dispenser and found mold and mildew growing in the machine.
The incident cost Ogden hundreds of dollars in clothes, as well as money spent to clean her washer and purchase a new washer.
A court has not approved the settlement, but WRTV reports a hearing is scheduled for Sept. 7 in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, Ohio.
However, Ogden says she doubts whether she’ll be able to receive compensation for her expenses under the new settlement.
“Who saves receipts for 10 years of products to get the stink out of the clothes when you didn’t even know that was causing it?” Ogden said Monday.
Past consumers interested in getting compensation for the washers have to submit a claim by Oct. 11, 2016. Depending on the documentation provide, one can receive a $50 cash payment, a 5 percent or 20 percent rebate toward the purchase of a new washing machine or dryer, or up to $500 in reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses for repairs or replacement due to a mold or odor problem.
Top manufacturers have continued to dismiss claims made in the lawsuits, holding that their washers don’t have any prevalent defects.
In a statement, Whirlpool said, “The facts remain unchanged: the vast majority of class members have not been harmed and never will be.”
In another statement released to WRTV, Whirpool said, “The washers included in the settlement were made during the 2000s, and only a small percentage of consumers ─ less than 4 percent ─ ever had a complaint about their washers.
Whirlpool feels strongly that this type of litigation is not good for consumers and distracts U.S. manufacturers, like Whirlpool, from providing consumers with innovative, energy-efficient products.”
Sears, Roebuck and Company issued the following statement provided by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers: “Sears and Whirlpool, who manufactured the washing machines at issue and is defending Sears in the lawsuit, reject any claims that Kenmore front-loading washing machines are defective.
“Indeed, the overwhelming majority of our members are pleased with their Kenmore front-loading washing machines. To control odor, mold, and mildew in their washing machines, our members always should follow the instructions in the use and care guide for their washing machine.”