Whirlpool knew of potential washing machine problems
A memo sent by Whirlpool in May 2012 indicated it knew about a potential flooding problem with a popular washing machine.
Darcy Wintonyk and Lynda Steele, CTV British Columbia
Published Tuesday, November 6, 2012 4:15PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 7, 2012 4:09PM PST
Whirlpool knew about a potential problem with one of its popular top-loading washing machines months before a series of costly floods that involved dozens of consumers.
CTV’s Steele on Your Side has learned of 21 separate floods linked to the same model of top-loading Whirlpool washing machine, including problems at three new condo developments in Metro Vancouver.
In many cases, the washer turns on by itself and overflows, sometimes for hours. Unsuspecting owners have returned home to find water cascading down stairs. Some condo floods have damaged units four or five storeys below, triggering massive insurance claims.
When CTV asked Whirlpool to comment on five floods caused by the same washing machine model on October 9, including four at the same East Vancouver strata, the company said it had “no information that would indicate a trend or a problem" with the machine.
But a memo sent by Whirlpool to independent service technicians across North America (who are not Whirlpool employees) dated May 2012 indicated it knew about a potential flooding problem with the machine.
Describing model Y WET 3300XQO, the technical service pointer warns that the washer “may overfill” and that "the pressure switches will send incorrect water level readings to the timer."
The memo also warned about seven other models: MET3800SW0, MGT3800XW1, WGT3300XQ0, YMET3800XW0, MGT3800XW0, WET3300XQ0, WGT3300XQ1 and YWET3300XQ0.
We showed the memo to Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers' Association of Canada. He called it “an absolute disgrace.”
“[Whirlpool] should be ashamed of themselves. Not only for the fact that they didn't admit it but they actually tried to cover it up,” he said.
The Surrey condo owned by Andrea D’Mello is being renovated for the second time in seven months after the suite's brand new whirlpool washing machine overflowed – twice.
The first flood caused by the Whirlpool washing machine was in April. The second was in late October when her tenants reported the machine turned itself on by itself again, flooding the condo, the common areas and the neighbouring two units.
Whirlpool told D’Mello the flood was caused because the washing machine was used improperly, something she doesn’t agree with.
"I mean this is not rocket science… who doesn't know how to use a washing machine in these days and times?” she said.
The double floods did massive damage and have cost D’Mello tens of thousands of dollars in deductibles and repairs. She’s outraged and wants her washer replaced immediately.
"This is like a time bomb waiting to happen,” she said.
Another resident in the complex also had a damaging flood caused by the same Whirlpool washer. Whirlpool sent a team of technicians to the building to inspect and repair all the machines in August – two months before D’Mello’s washer flooded for a second time.
After half a dozen refused interview requests, Whirlpool spoke to Lynda Steele after CTV sent the company a copy of its memo. Tune in on Thursday to find out what the company is saying.