Customers who purchased a Maytag, Kenmore, or Whirlpool front-loading washing machine between 2001 and 2010 may be eligible for up to $500 as part of a class action settlement.
WRTV Call 6, a local ABC affiliate in Indianapolis, exposed the presence of mold and other defects in front-loading washing machines back in 2013.
Ruth Ogden, who spoke with WRTV, bought a Whirlpool Duet front-loader in 2004. She said that after about a year, she started to notice a strong odor in her clean clothes.
“My son was a typical teenage slob, and we all thought the odor from him was getting into our clothes,” she said, adding that she disposed of hundreds of dollars worth of clothing.
Though Ogden spent money on products to clean her washer and even purchased a new washer as a last resort, she said that she might have difficulty getting any cash out of the settlement.
“Who saves receipts for 10 years of products to get the stink out of clothes when you didn’t even know that was causing it?” Ogden said in frustration.
Attorneys for other disgruntled customers alleged that the washers had “serious design defects” that ultimately caused mold and mildew buildup; however, Whirlpool failed to alert its customers to this risk.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, all types of mold have the potential to cause negative health effects, ranging from minor to severe, and in some cases, exposure to mold can even result in death.
Fortunately, no one has come forward with claims of serious health issues as a result of the faulty washers.
Since the start of the lawsuit, the companies in question have made design improvements to their machines. The new front-loaders have virtually eliminated the risk of mold by installing special vents that allow air to better circulate.
To officially approve the settlement, a hearing is scheduled for September 7 in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, OH.