Samsung's stance frustrates landlord

By Andrew Bonallack of the Wairarapa Times-Age -

A Masterton property owner who blames a Samsung washing machine fire for gutting his bathroom and amenity areas is upset the company has not offered to help with costs.

However, Samsung believes his fire is not related to its product notice involving around 36,000 machines in New Zealand.

On May 1, Samsung issued a notice after a series of washing machine fires in Australia.

So far at least three machines have caught fire in New Zealand, including the one at Cockburn St in Masterton last Tuesday.

But a Samsung spokesman has told the Times-Age they believe the Cockburn St machine's fire was not caused by the connector issue which prompted the nationwide warning notice.

A family of four were forced to flee their house after the father, Vinnie van der Linde, was unable to put out the fire that had started inside the machine.

Their machine, made in 1999, is not one of four toploader machines sold between 2010 to 2013 flagged by Samsung.

His landlord Vaughn Baker said he was still waiting for Samsung to get back to him.

He said a Samsung representative called in to inspect the machine the day after the fire.

"He said, sorry about all this. I said, I hope Samsung will be standing behind their product.

"He threw his hands up in the air and said it was nothing to do with him.

"That was the day after the fire and I haven't heard anything."

He said Samsung should pay for his out-of-pocket expenses.

"My excess, my carpet, my no-claims bonus, a lot of other expenses."

He said his insurance company, AMI, had sent him a "lovely" letter thanking him for installing smoke alarms, saving the house from further damage.

"They put in a couple of Lotto tickets, it was a kind thought.

"It's early days but it looks like [my insurance company] will do the best they can."

Samsung NZ sales director Jon Barrell told the Times-Age the company immediately investigated the Cockburn St fire with the NZ Fire Service.

"The cause of the fire is still under investigation. However, initial findings do show that it was not caused by the connector issue."

He said they would be in contact with the landlord and would meet all obligations under the Consumer Guarantees Act.

He believed only one fire in New Zealand was related to the wiring in the connector area of the four affected models.

Yesterday Samsung updated its rework notice, saying more than 9000 repairs had been logged in New Zealand.

The company said it had increased the number of technicians carrying out repairs from 103 to 180. Samsung are urging concerned customers to visit www.samsung.com/nz/support/rework or call 0800 855 502.

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