Any recourse from retailer or company?

m1chaelMay 26, 2011

We purchased a new front loading W/D from a big box retailer about 1.5 to 2 years ago and also purchased an extended warranty at the time. We have been having several issues with our washer lately (spinning noise, etc) and we had a water leak that spread to other rooms in the house a few days ago. We contacted the warranty service company and they came out to look at the washer. The repair guy stated that we have a bad sensor / switch within the unit that caused the washer to continue filling up (not automatically shutting off like its supposed to do) and caused the water to spill out through the door.

This has caused some damage to our laminate floors (from what I can tell so far) and I will not fully be able to inspect further damage until this coming weekend. I want to remove some baseboards from the surrounding walls where the washer is located and also take down some insulation from the basement (washer on main floor and water went into basement) to further investigate the damage.

I am curious as to whether or not we are going to have any recourse for possible repairs, do to this not being our fault, from either the original big box store that we purchased the units from or from the manufacturer of the units?



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Your best bet if there is any damage is to file with your homeowners insurance and let them figure out who to go after for payment.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 12:52PM
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You make a valid point, I just don't want my insurance premiums to be affected by something that is not my fault. And we all know eventually they will raise your premiums if you submit claims. Might not be now or in a few months but maybe next year my rates would go up to cover the claim.

But all in all I hear what you saying and I guess submitting to homeowners is better than nothing. I just would like another alternative if possible.

Thanks for your reply...

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 1:14PM
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Have you looked at your warranty terms? Does it specifically exclude consequential damages?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 2:49PM
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Stuff happens. This is what your homeowner's policy is for. If the damages are substantially above your deductible, by all means file a claim. Where I live, if the claim is below 3-4 thousand, they'll pretty much just cut you a check and forget it. I've had two of these in the last 10/15 years with two different insurers and neither raised my rates. Both were extremely cooperative and helpful in the process of my finding contractors, etc. (I do carry a thousand deductible so it's not like it was free to me.) My personal rule is that I don't file unless I'm looking at a total more than double the deductible but other people have other ideas about such things.

Neither the retailer nor manufacturer are going to lay down for "consequential damages" -- which is what you've described. That would be a huge open liability for them and you can pretty much depend on that door being closed, bolted, and guarded. To get beyond it would require a suit and suits are always expensive and time-consuming. Let your insurer handle it. Let them subrogate if they see cause. In the mean time, take their money and get your life back on track ASAP.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 4:03PM
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If washer/dryer is located on an "upper level" is it not supposed to have a drain so extensive damage like this wouldn't happen? I know people who put them in special set ups to avoid water damage? Just curious.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 6:16PM
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Like the others have said I'd just file with your homeowner's insurance. We had a fire/smoke damage in '05 that probably cost them around $50k when it was all said and done. I don't remember our rates going up at the time and I know we do get discounts now.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 6:44PM
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You have no recourse against the retailer or the manufacturer. If you did, we would have millions of lawsuits flying around that obviously we do not. Call your homeowner's insurance company.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 11:39AM
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OK, let's be blunt here. You're talking a two year old appliance. Come on! It's not even under warranty! So the manufacturer isn't liable. The store? How on earth would they be responsible? Geez, if your car breaks down after warranty expires do you want someone else held liable? The dealer or you want the company to fix it just because it's not your fault? Although sometimes it's frustrating and doesn't seem right sometimes, the fact is that just because it's not your fault doesn't make it actionable. If your car breaks down, they don't pay the tow fees, they don't pay for your missed reservation or anything.

Recourse against the retailer or manufacturer? No. You might have something if you truly had an extended warranty but you don't. You bought a service contract. And no, you won't have recourse against the service company either. Even if you did, there'd be a hassle back and forth on whether you mitigated damages which you've said you didn't.

If you can prove a manufacturing defect, you might have a claim, but again, you're not under warranty so nothing against the store or mfgr. And service contracts cover so little so often that I'm pretty confident that's out too.

Before getting too worked up over it, why not find out what the damage is and how much it'll cost to fix it? Then you'll know where you're at. If it's not a lot, eat it and save the stress. If it's going to be substantial then turn it in to your insurance. Weigh cost against deductibles. For something like this, most insurance companies wouldn't penalize your rates, but the fact is, your insurance will go up. Mine's gone up every year I can remember, and with no claims. I'm paying for others who rip off the companies and who live in high-incident areas, together with legitimate claims by people who were victims of an even through no fault of their own.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 10:31PM
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Plus, they've announced that we're all going to pay more in the coming years because of all the natural disasters this year (floods, tornado outbreaks), it's gotta come from somewhere and they won't take it out of their shareholders' pockets....

If the damage is significant, file the claim. Otherwise, fix it and get over it - life's too short as it is.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 6:33PM
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Thanks to all who replied. We are currently exploring the possibility of a homeowner's claim. Before committing to that, we will first hire a contractor or other knowledgable person to investigate the extent of the actual damages.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 7:52PM
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The other thing to remind yourself is this is (probably) one of the reasons why you selected laminate flooring in the first place. It's cheap and easy to fix in case of damage.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 12:47PM
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