By Kara Kenney, http://www.theindychannel.com
Mold could be growing inside your washing machine, and you may never even know it, according to attorneys representing consumers.
Lawyers accuse some top companies of making defective front-loading washing machines, Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney reported.
Attorneys have also accused some manufacturers of knowing about the mold and trying to cover it up.
Many people love front loaders because they use less water, they’re quieter and they look sleek.
But some consumers across the country claim the machines ruined their clothes and wasted their money.
Ruth Ogden, of Gas City, bought a Whirlpool Duet front loader around 2004 and said after a year or so, she started noticing an odor in her clothes.
“It smelled like an old, dirty dishrag,” said Ogden.
For years, Ogden blamed her son.
“My son was as typical teenage slob, and we all thought the odor from him was getting into our clothes,” said Ogden, adding that she threw out clothes worth hundreds of dollars.
Ogden said she pulled out the soap dispenser one day and discovered mold and mildew growing in the machine.
“I used bleach, I used vinegar, I used ammonia, I used baking soda. I bought the Affresh things they sell,” said Ogden.
Whirlpool’s Duet Washer, like the one Ogden purchased, is the focus of a class-action lawsuit.
Attorneys allege the washers, sold between 2001 and 2008 without a steam feature, have “serious design defects” that can cause mold and mildew.
“The bottom line is the washers don’t clean themselves properly, the way a properly designed washer should clean itself,” said Mark Chalos, an attorney representing consumers in the class-action suit.
Chalos alleges Whirlpool failed to properly warn consumers.
“They knew they had a problem with these machines going back years,” said Chalos.
The Call 6 Investigators found similar lawsuits against other top companies, such as LG, Bosch, GE, Sears and Kenmore.
Most of the machines named in lawsuits were sold between 2001 and 2008.
A lawsuit filed last month against Electrolux, the parent company of Frigidaire, alleges the company concealed material facts regarding some of its Frigidaire front loaders, including “defects in the stainless steel drums.”
“We filed suit against Electrolux to get compensation for persons like Ms. Fleming who own front load washers that suffer from the same mold defect,” said attorney Paul Weiss, who represents consumers, in an email to RTV6. “This is a problem that manufacturers like Electrolux have long known about, but have failed to fix or remedy.”
“We are vigorously defending ourselves in this matter,” said Eloise Hale, spokeswoman for Frigidaire, in an email to Kenney.
Attorneys told the Call 6 Investigators millions of consumers could be affected by mold problems in their washers and not even realize it.