7 On Your Side: Samsung washing machine owners get recall runaround

MANCHESTER, New Jersey (WABC) -- It was one of the largest recalls for a household appliance in history, with nearly three million Samsung washing machines with a defect so potentially dangerous that the top can literally explode. But now, months after the recall, customer say they're agitated when it comes to getting refunds.

"I have never seen customer service handled so poorly," Joanne Smolen said.

And she should know, having spent her career as a customer service manager.

"I'm speechless," she said. "I couldn't believe I couldn't get help."
Smolen owned one of those top-loading Samsung washing machines that recalled back in November after hundreds of reported incidents where the lids blew apart and caused nine injuries.

Samsung's recall offered customers a refund, a replacement or to repair the unit. Smolen chose the repair route.

"They'd make an appointment, and they'd never show," she said.

Smolen said Samsung servicemen hung her out to dry three times.

"Three strikes you're out, I'm done," she said. "Get me someone else on the phone. I want my money back."

But Smolen said that refund request was stuck in perpetual spin cycle to the tune of $731. And she wasn't alone.
"It's frustrating," Ryan Guerra said.

Guerra was still waiting on Samsung to reimburse him almost $150 after he said he was shortchanged on his refund, the cost of delivery, accessories, and sales tax.

"I was upset," he said. "I had to take money out of my pocket for an issue that's theirs."

Samsung's Facebook page is filled with frustration, everything from disappearing repairmen to caustic customer service.

"I'm not asking for much," Smolen said. "Just help me."

They got 7 On Their Side, and and within days, Guerra got a check for nearly $150 and Smolen was finally refunded $731.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission advises those with Samsung customer service issues to call them at 800-638-2772 with a complaint, and they'll advocate. They also caution customers against ignoring the recall, as it's a serious safety issue.

Samsung Corporate issued the following statement:
"We are constantly listening to and learning from every consumer's experience. We have reached out to these customers, apologized to them for the inconveniences and resolved the matters to their satisfaction. Based on these experiences, we have also made changes to improve our processes. Our customer care team is standing by to assist consumers with any questions at 1-866-264-5636 and we encourage all consumers to visit Samsung.com/us/TLW."
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