Washer Malfunction Floods Woman’s Home, Twice

ABC News Fixer: Amrita Pathania says LG washer caused an est. $24,000 damage.

ByABC News
March 19, 2016, 7:58 AM

THE ABC NEWS FIXER — -- Amrita Pathania of suburban Philadelphia needs a dependable washer. What she didn’t need was water pouring out of that washer and spilling down into her basement. And she especially didn’t need it to leak twice!

Read Amrita’s original letter to the ABC News Fixer below, and see how The Fixer helped get this washing machine nightmare resolved.

TUNE IN to "Good Morning America" Sunday for more on Amrita's story, and do YOU have a consumer problem? Maybe The Fixer can help! Submit your problems at ABCNews.com/Fixer.

Dear ABC News Fixer: Our new front-loading LG washer malfunctioned mid-cycle and the door opened, releasing about 30 gallons of water from our second-floor laundry room down to the basement. The water damaged the carpeting, hardwood floors and drywall, causing extensive damage on three floors of our house, with repairs estimated at $24,000.

We had bought the washer and an extended warranty in June and it was installed July 31. The flood happened Nov. 14. We called LG when it happened and they sent a tech several days later. He adjusted the water sensor.

We were afraid to use it again, but finally I did on Dec. 21, and it malfunctioned again!

We cannot go through this ordeal again. We would like LG to remove this washer and either refund our money or replace it with a new top-loading washer. We are looking to restore normalcy in our lives and peace of mind.

- Amrita Pathania, Hatfield, Pa.

Dear Amrita: As anyone who’s ever had a flooded house knows – the ABC News Fixer included – the last thing you want after everything is cleaned up is to have it happen again. So we sympathized with your need to have this washer issue resolved, pronto.

You told us you complained to LG immediately when the first flood occurred but were uneasy about whether the problem was actually addressed. When the washer leaked the second time, you said LG sent another tech out, and he couldn’t find anything wrong but offered to replace the motherboard anyway. At that point, you had lost faith in this wayward washer and just wanted it out of your house. But you said LG told you the same defect had to occur three times before they’d replace the appliance.

Your washer was new enough that even though you had bought an extended warranty plan, the original manufacturer’s warranty was still in effect. The terms of that warranty say LG has the option to “repair or replace” a defective product. But that “three strikes” policy is pretty typical in the appliance industry, The Fixer has found. Many companies will insist on three repair attempts before they’ll spring for a new machine.

Though if there ever was a time to ignore the rule, this would be it. Did anyone seriously think you should endure Flood No. 3 to get a new washing machine?

We raised that with LG, and to their credit they jumped right on this. They arranged for you to get a new washer, and they had a crew pick up the troublesome washer and install the new one.

LG vice president John Taylor thanked us for letting them know about it and said in a statement the company “was happy to replace the customer’s washer.”

As for the water damage, luckily your homeowner’s insurance covered that, and with the repairs your home will be good as new.

As for the rest of us, here are some things to know about manufacturers’ warranties:

- Many will not cover repairs if the damage was caused by faulty pipes or drains or inadequate air supply to the appliance. So take good care of your appliances.

- Same thing with lightning strikes, fire, wind or pests. If your appliance breaks down because of one of those reasons, the warranty probably won’t help you. Ditto with improper installation.

- If you purchase a discounted model marked “as-is,” it will not have any warranty coverage.

- Stay organized. Keep your warranty info and receipt in a file, and be sure to register your major appliance in case there’s a recall later.

- The ABC News Fixer

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