November 1, 2014

Recall: LG Electronics Electric Ranges Due to Burn and Fire Hazards

Name of Product: LG Electric Ranges

Units: About 161,000

Manufacturer: LG Electronics Inc., of South Korea

Hazard: Burners on the electric ranges can fail to turn off after being switched off and the temperature setting can increase unexpectedly during use, posing burn and fire hazards to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: LG has received 80 reports of incidents involving burners failing to turn off or the temperature setting increasing unexpectedly during use. No fires or injuries have been reported.

Description: The recalled ranges involve models LRE30451, LRE30453, LRE30755, LRE30757, and LRE30955ST. They were sold in black, white and stainless steel and with a smooth black ceramic glass top cooking surface. The recalled ranges have serial numbers starting with 512, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 606, 607, 608, 609, 610, 611, 612, 701, 702, 703, 704, 705, 706, 707, 708, 709, 710, 711, 712, 801, 802, 803, 804, 805, 806, 807, 808, 809, 810, 901, 902, 903, 904, 905, and 906. The model and serial numbers can be found on a label that can be seen by opening the storage drawer at the base of the unit. The electric ranges are about 47 1/2 inches tall to the top of the backguard, 29 inches wide and 28 inches deep.

Sold at: Best Buy, Home Depot, Sears, and regional appliance retailers nationwide from January 2006 to June 2010 for between $800 and $1999.

Manufactured in: South Korea and Mexico

Remedy: Consumers should immediately contact LG to schedule a free in-home repair. Consumers whose burner heat setting cannot be regulated by using the controls or who experience problems with a cooktop burner remaining on, should immediately stop using the recalled electric range until it is repaired.

Consumer Contact: LG; toll-free at (855) 400-4638, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, or www.LG.com/us and click on Public Notices in the Customer Services section for more information.

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Check Your Cart at Sears.com

Is Sears.com tacking on added purchases without your consent? Automatically adding on a service package is up-selling and Sears.com may have been doing just that.

Edgar Dworsky, a nationally-respected consumer advocate and founder of the website ConsumerWorld.org, says he went on the site on Black Friday weekend looking for a refrigerator. He found a model he liked, put it in his cart and noticed that a five-year service contract for $469 had been added without his consent.

Dworsky points out that the charge for the service plan is easily removed from the cart if the customer spots it. If not, they could overpay from $110 to $550.

“How many shoppers have in their mind, ‘Oh, I’d better check the cart just to make sure they haven’t slipped something in there that I didn’t order?’”

Dworsky shopped for various appliances on Sears.com and he says the same thing happened every time: an expensive five-year extended warranty turned up in the shopping cart.

After Mr. Dworsky contacted Larry Costello, Sears’ public relations director, who says the company has received “very little negative customer feedback” about its up-sell policy,the company says it will change the way its website operates. Sears will now make their extended warranties an optional add-on, just as other major appliance sellers do.

Energy Star’s New Most Efficient Designation

It seems that every appliance in the stores these days has qualified for the Energy Star label. A look around the local appliance store is dotted with the ubiquitous bright yellow tags.

Energy Star, in an effort to improve the system – everything can’t be the BEST – has added a “Most Efficient” designation to their listings.

“This new designation will help Americans save money and cut pollution by quickly pointing them to the best Energy Star products have to offer. Highlighting Energy Star’s Most Efficient products is a great way to encourage the strides in innovation that bring even more energy and money saving choices to our stores,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We know American consumers are eager to make purchases that save them money on their utility bills and reduce the pollution in the air we breathe, and these labels will help them identify the best ways to find those purchases.”

Products that receive the Most Efficient designation demonstrate exceptional and cutting-edge efficiency performance. The Most Efficient recognition will represent approximately the top five percent of models on the market in the following categories: clothes washers, heating and cooling equipment, televisions, and refrigerator-freezers. The following Energy Star partners’ products are among the first to be recognized as Most Efficient: Electrolux Major Appliances, Sears’ Kenmore, LG, Samsung, Best Buy’s Insignia Brand, Panasonic, Nordyne, and Rheem. Later this year, EPA will initiate a process to consider additional product categories for potential inclusion in 2012.

Consumers will be able to identify Most Efficient products on the Energy Star website and in stores by looking for the Most Efficient designation. In addition to meeting established performance requirements, products must also be Energy Star qualified and certified by an EPA-recognized certification body. Manufacturers are encouraged to submit products that meet the requirements to EPA for recognition.

More information on Energy Star’s Most Efficient products: http://www.energystar.gov/mostefficient

Haier Buying Sanyo Appliance Division

Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. plans to sell much of its major appliance business to China’s Haier Group, in an uncommon instance of a Japanese electronics conglomerate allowing a rising Chinese rival take over a chunk of a major business segment.

The sale of the Sanyo operations—mostly washing-machine and refrigerator businesses—is part of Panasonic’s efforts to eliminate overlapping areas since its 2009 purchase of Sanyo. For Haier, the acquisition of Sanyo’s businesses will help it move a step closer to becoming a globally recognized quality appliance brand like Whirlpool or Electrolux.

Haier Group will have the rights to use the Sanyo brand name on washing machines, refrigerators, air-conditioners, TVs, and other consumer appliances in Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia under the SANYO brand for a limited, but unspecified, period of time.

The acquisition of the Sanyo businesses is “an important part of Haier’s overall growth strategy,” said Haier Vice President Du Jingguo in a statement released Thursday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Haier has said previously it was looking at overseas acquisitions to grow. President Yang Mianmian told Dow Jones Newswires in March it would look at opportunities that arise.

The Chinese firm previously held talks with General Electric Co. in 2008 to buy the U.S. firm’s appliance unit. Before the talks with GE, Haier made an unsuccessful bid for Maytag Corp. in 2004 but lost out to Whirlpool Corp.

Haier holds more than 6% of the world’s white-goods market.

Save Money on New Appliances and Help the World Too

We can all use a little help these days. If your budget cuts have you rethinking how to replace an aging appliance, GE offers a solution that lets you buy a new appliance while helping others. At the online GE outlet store, with any purchase of one of their discontinued, closeout or overstock appliances (which includes standard GE warranty and free delivery) they will donate 2% of the price to the United Way.

They have just about every appliance you could need – from refrigerators, and washers to trash compactors and range hoods. The supply and variety varies, with more choices in the larger kitchen appliances than others. The savings also vary. At last look, you could save $200 -$500 on a refrigerator, but just around $20 on a ventilation hood.

It would also be a good resource if you are trying to match older GE Appliances already in your kitchen.

Thermador’s New Steam Range

Thermador’s Pro Grand Steam 48-inch range offers seven distinct cooking options — steaming, convection baking, burner cooking, simmering, grilling, griddle cooking and warming — with a combination Steam & Convection Oven, a large-capacity convection oven, a six-burner gas cooktop featuring the exclusive Star® Burners, and a fully integrated warming drawer in the all-in-one package. Additionally, it houses Thermador’s cooking exclusives, such as the ExtraLow® simmering technology, and a power Star Burner with 22,000 BTU.

“Judging from the recent success of the built-in Steam & Convection Oven, we believe the market is ready for another game-changing concept with the new Pro Grand Steam Range. Our new professional range empowers home cooks to achieve their best and experience the absolute finest in cooking, whether it’s healthy steam cooking, baking in the large-capacity convection oven, precise simmering on the Star Burners, or just keeping the family meal warm.” said Zach Elkin, director of the Thermador brand.

The new 48-inch Pro Grand Steam Range features:

The Thermador Pro Grand Steam Range offers seven distinct cooking options with four integrated appliances: a full-function combination Steam & Convection Oven; a large-capacity Convection Oven; a six-burner Gas Cooktop and electric grill/griddle option with ProCoat™titanium surface; and a Warming Drawer.
The fully integrated 1.4-cubic-foot Steam & Convection Oven cavity is large enough for a 14-pound turkey, serving 15 people. (A 14-pound turkey takes only 90 minutes to cook in Combination mode, resulting in a moist inside and a perfect crust outside.) The steam oven offers 30 easy cook food programs, and its simple water tank design allows for convenient, spill-proof refilling, and eliminates the need for plumbing modifications during installation.
The Steam & Convection Oven enables cooking without using butter or fat, improves overall food quality and appearance, and preserves healthy vitamins and nutrients typically lost during traditional cooking methods.
Patented six Star Burners with QuickClean™base, which allow for more ports and flame distribution, greater heat coverage and a smaller cold spot than conventional round burners.
Power Star Burner offering 22,000 (Natural Gas) BTU, while the remaining burners produce 18,000 BTU.
Four Star Burners featuring ExtraLow®simmering technology that cycles the burners off and on to as low as 100 degrees (375 BTU).
Large-capacity 5.1-cubic-foot Convection Oven offers maximum cooking space and nine advanced conventional cooking modes.
Spacious 1.4-cubic-foot warming drawer holds up to 10 dinner plates.

Design features include:

Highest-grade stainless steel construction and handcrafted in the United States with signature bull-nose design.
Professional®Series handles and trimkits offer design consistency with any Thermador kitchen.
New hydraulic SoftClose™hinges prevent the slamming of oven doors, and SoftClose glide doors for the warming drawer.
Full Access® telescopic racks with integrated easy-grip handle.
Electronic oven display interfaces to cook timer, meat probe and preheat status.
Commercial-style stainless steel knobs.
Commercial-style temperature gauges and illuminated electronic displays.

The range will be available in August 2011 at high-end appliance retailers, for an MSRP of $13,995.

Appliance Prices Are Going Up

Top appliance makers Whirlpool and Electrolux are raising prices to pass soaring raw material costs on to customers, but their attempts may not pass muster with bargain-hungry shoppers.

According to Reuters, both companies reported quarterly profits that fell short of estimates as they grapple with tepid demand in major markets like the United States and Europe.
Many analysts questioned the timing of the move, especially since consumers in the developed world continue to look for incentives to buy expensive goods like appliances.

Korean manufacturer Samsung has not announced increases and appears to be planning to hold existing prices. Still, Whirlpool’s chief executive, Jeff Fettig, insisted it was not “economically feasible” for Whirlpool to remain indefinitely in the promotional mindset it adopted for the holiday season and last year in general. “For 2011, we expect positive but uneven demand levels around the world,” Fettig said, adding the company still hoped to expand operating margins in the year through price increases and boosts in productivity.

LG Electronics does plan an increase as well. The planned price increase matches moves announced earlier by Whirlpool and Electrolux.

Whirlpool has shut plants, cut jobs and moved some manufacturing to lower cost centers like Mexico. It has also started using common parts across its lineup of dishwashers, refrigerators and washing machines.

Electrolux, which sells under its own name as well as the Zanussi and Frigidaire brands, is planning to raise prices by 8 percent to 10 percent in North America starting in April and gradually in Europe and other markets. The move comes as manufacturers around the globe plot price increases to offset higher materials costs and regain ground lost in the recession. Electrolux Chief Executive Keith McLoughlin said the rise in raw materials’ costs had been across the board.

GE Appliance Cash Sweepstakes

Beginning January 13th, GE is running an eight week sweepstakes, with weekly $250 VISA card giveaways and a grand prize of $20,000. You can enter each day for a chance to win. Here’s the link to get you there: GE Sweepstakes