November 1, 2014

Recall: LG Top-Loading Washing Machines Due to Risk of Injury

 

LG WT5001CW
Name of Product: Top-Loading Washing Machines

Units: About 457,000

Manufacturer: LG Electronics Inc., of South Korea

Hazard: An unbalanced load can cause the washing machine to shake excessively and the drum to come loose during use, posing a risk of injury to consumers and property damage to the surrounding area.

Incidents/Injuries: LG has received at least 343 reports of washing machines vibrating excessively, of which at least 187 involved minor property damage. One minor injury has been reported.

Description: The recall involves three LG and three Kenmore Elite Brand top-loading washing machine models manufactured between February 2010 and November 2011. The units come in beige, white and graphite steel colors. Recalled washing machines have the following model and serial number ranges: [Read more...]

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.

Frigidaire Gets Most Efficient Label for Washers

“ENERGY STAR Most Efficient” is a new EPA program designed to identify and advance highly efficient products in the marketplace. The effort will call out the most efficient products among those that qualify for the ENERGY STAR in particular product categories.

Frigidaire offers eco-friendly washers that use up to 82% less energy and 60% less water than washers from just ten years ago. Plus, the Energy Saver Option further reduces energy use up to 60%.

Many Frigidaire washers have been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as three of the most efficient ENERGY STAR washers on the market. Look for the certification on most of the Affinity models.

Frigidaire’s new collections of kitchen and laundry appliances include ENERGY STAR qualified appliances in every product category, where applicable, offering a variety of appliances that are from 10% to 80% more energy-efficient than non-ENERGY STAR qualified appliances. The line features washers that use up to 82% less energy and 60% less water along with refrigerators and freezers that use at least 10% less energy and dishwashers that use at least 41% less energy and 40% less water than was used just 10 years ago.

Kenmore Announces New Laundry Pair

Kenmore has added a new steam washer and dryer to its laundry line-up, the Kenmore Elite 4.3-cubic foot Front Load HE Steam Washer and the matching Kenmore Elite 7.4-cubic foot Steam Dryer.

The Kenmore Elite® 4.3 cubic foot Front Load HE Steam Washer and the matching Kenmore Elite 7.4 cubic foot Steam Dryer bring technology and convenience to the laundry room. Additionally, the washer has been awarded the ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient designation in 2011.

      In only 20 minutes, the Steam Refresh technology (dryer models only) gently refreshes clothes by relaxing wrinkles eliminating the need for ironing or re-washing

Wash a load in just 26 minutes using Express Wash, and dry a load in 30 minutes using Express Dry

Features Smart Motion Technology with cycle selection that provides the right amount of cleaning and care

Large capacities of 4.3 cubic foot washer and 7.4 cubic foot dryer to accommodate super king-sized loads, saving both time and energy without sacrificing performance

The washer uses 71 percent less water and 63 percent less energy than a conventional top-load washer manufactured prior to 2004

Features Kenmore Connect, a functionality that sends customers’ real-time diagnostic information directly from the washer or dryer over the phone to highly-trained service experts who answer questions, suggest solutions, or provide instructions to help keep the appliance running properly

The washer and electric dryer in white are $1,199 per unit and $1,299 in color finishes. Gas dryers are slightly more expensive.

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

The Battle Continues – LG vs Whirlpool

If you have been following the ongoing series of court debates between LG and Whirlpool, you’ll be aware of the back and forth battles regarding steam dryers and refrigerator patents.

The United States District Court in Chicago this week entered a final judgment in favor of Whirlpool in a case filed by LG Electronics involving Whirlpool’s steam dryer advertising. The court had previously ruled that “Whirlpool has established that its dryers do, in fact, use steam,” and that “LG did not introduce expert testimony or credible evidence of even a single Whirlpool customer, retailer, or trade representative who expressed confusion.”

“We’re very pleased with the Court’s decision,” said Marc Bitzer, president, Whirlpool North America Region. This victory means consumers will continue to have a choice in purchasing their steam laundry appliances.”

While this seems to settle the steam dryer case, the refrigerator patent battles continue. LG originally sued to have Whirlpool fridge patents invalidated; Whirlpool countersued. In March 2010, a jury trial found mostly in favor of Whirlpool and awarded Whirlpool $1,786,925. On July 1, 2011, the court granted a new trial and set a trial date of Sept. 28, 2011.

Whirlpool is seeking a judgment that better validates its patent claims; LG seeks to have the claims of patent violation invalidated and eliminate its liability. Stay tuned…

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.