Samsung washer and dryer - my horrible experience

cgi101October 12, 2010

I purchased a Kenmore Elite washer and dryer set about ~7 months ago from Sears in Canada. While branded Kenmore Elite, the pair are actually built by Samsung. They are essentially rebranded Samsung WF409 washer and Samsung DV409 dryer (it's a steam dryer, but not a steam washer). Not all Kenmore Elite front load washers in Canada are built by Samsung. I know that some are built by LG.

Within the first 2 months I had to have both units replaced by Sears. The dryer squeaked since the first time it was run. The squeak was even noted by the installation guy. The washer had problems with its drum suspension, causing the drum to hit against the sides of the machine (causing loud banging) and against the glass door (causing scratches). The door scratching saga was documented in another thread:

The replacement dryer has a rattle that comes and goes during use. Sears repair people have come 5 times (yes, 5 times) to fix it. It finally doesn't rattle anymore. The replacement washer was working for several months until it started developing some more scratches on the door like the first faulty unit. I decided I could live with this. However, the washer is now no longer working at all. It displays error code "te" on the display. According to the user manual, this means there is a problem with the temperature sensor (not a problem with the water temperature). A quick google search online revealed that several others have received this error on their Samsung washer, and it is usually because the wiring to the sensor has broken or worn out (within the first 2 years of ownership).

As usual, Sears will take ~2 weeks to send a service person out here, meaning 2 weeks without being able to do laundry. But, that's another issue. I've decided that I'm going to fight to return this laundry pair and get something else-- I'm not risking another set of replacements that exhibit the same problems.

Since online reviews, consumer reports, and JD Power and associates were not helpful (they all said Samsung / Kenmore Elite were top, reliable brands), I decided to call an acquaintance that works at a commercial appliance seller. The company sells commercial washing machines and dryers, and repairs both commercial and residential machines. He works in repair. I called him and told him I'm in the market for a new washer/dryer and asked him which brands I should stay clear of, and which are more reliable in his experience. He told me he's seen the least issues with LG and Whirlpool washers and to stay away from Samsung because they aren't built well. I had never mentioned anything of my Samsung problems to him, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised to hear this.

I'm not normally one to blast a company because I've had a bad experience with their product. In fact, I hate when someone conclusively states that Brand X is the worst, and to completely avoid it, just because they had a bad experience...... but, that's exactly what I want to do right now. After owning a (rebranded) Samsung laundry pair, having them replaced, continuing to have problems, and hearing a repairman tell me they are poorly built, I feel like I have to warn the world to avoid Samsung washers and dryers!

I realize that some readers of this message are going to be Samsung owners that are perfectly happy with their machine. I'm sure that they are being honest and I hope they continue to be happy with their purchase. Given that Sears is still selling Samsung machines, and Kenmore-branded Samsung machines, I can only assume that lots of buyers aren't experiencing problems like me. Unfortunately, I've experienced major problems with my Samsung washer and Samsung dryer, and feel extra-terrible for not speaking to my repairman friend before purchasing. He would have given me his opinion and I would have stayed clear of Samsung. The worst part is that I'm going to miss this terrible unreliable laundry pair in some ways. Firstly, the machines are beautiful. They look so futureistic! (Although now I feel this toy-look appearance gives a hint at the insides). Secondly, Samsung's VRT balancing / vibration reduction system works beautifully (when it works). I had the washer in a closet on the 2nd floor of my home and it kept vibration to a minimum. You could never feel it on the main floor (one floor below), unlike my 10-year old Whirlpool frontloader.

So, now I have work to do. I have to convince Sears to let me choose a different replacement pair, and I have to choose if I want that replacement pair to be LG or Whirlpool (at this point I can't be convinced to choose any other brand). My last washer was a front-load Kenmore Elite (built by Whirlpool). I had it for 10 years without any problems or repairs, and gave it to a family member when I replaced mine. It is still working without issue for them!

They just don't build 'em like they used to.

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They sure don't build 'em like they used to. I would think your units fall under the lemon law with all those issues.

I had a Kenmore Elite set from Sears bought 8-9 years ago and it gave me nothing but trouble from the first year on. Luckily, I had bought the warranty, b/c it would have costed us $450+ for a replacement mother board and labor - 3 times on the dryer and twice on the washer. At that price, it's a few new appliances I could have bought, so the warranty was priceless with that set.

I finally just got rid of them a month ago and bought the TL LG set which I like a lot though I've only had it a short time. Got the warranty again b/c of all the electronics on these things. What happened to the good old knob sets?? - that's really what I wanted but couldn't find one that met my criteria.

Sorry to hear about your troubles. Stand your ground with Sears. My DH had an issue with a very expensive lawn product and after letters to the President of Sears and being relentless, they refunded his money. DON'T BACK DOWN AND DON'T ACCEPT ANYTHING LESS THAN A FULL REFUND. Hopefully, you don't get jerked around for any extensive period of time like he did, but in the end, he won his case.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 4:17PM
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Thanks, debi_2006, for reading my story and for your advice. The manager at the local Sears has been very unhelpful (and unresponsive) to my letters, so I think I will skip right to sending a letter to the company president like you did.

PS what was your old Kenmore Elite set? A front load (like the HE3) or something else?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 7:10PM
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Ours was a top loader and was top of the line at the time. Don't remember the model. It had all the bells and whistles and totally electronic.

Recently when I visited a Sears appliance store, I asked the salesman 'what brand is the best' just to hear what he had to say (not that I really expected him to know) and his reply was Samsung, followed by LG. Said he hasn't heard many complaints about either one from customers, but I suppose any complaints wouldn't be submitted to him. He said GE was the worst.

By the way, you may want to talk to the store manager one more time face to face and if he is not helpful, tell him you have no alternative but to escalate this matter directly to the President of Sears and his (the manager's) name will be mentioned. Let him know you will not let this rest until the proper action is taken from the Executive Office. See if that stikes a cord with him in finally wanting to help. No one wants to be reported to the President for poor customer service. After all, it's not just one problem you've had, but several.

Unfortunately, sometimes you have to play dirty to get action.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 8:08PM
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With respect.....anyone want to guess how many letters from angry customers the president of Sears -- or ANY large corporation -- actually sees? The answer is none.

By all means address your letter. That's appropriate. Just suggesting you don't have any illusions. I can guarantee you the store manager doesn't have any. El presidente doesn't talk to him/her either.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 8:22PM
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Oh I absolutely don't expect the president to read any customer complaint mail :) but there's usually some higher-up customer service team that will handle the issue.

I'll try meeting with the manager face to face first though! Whenever I leave a message (they never let me speak to her) or send a letter, someone else at the store (not the manager) has been assigned to get back to me.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 11:31PM
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Have you tried Sears at
This will let you discuss your trouble. Also a guy named Brian with the Sears Cares team that you can contact and he will call you and discuss your problem and a solution.
Hope some of this helps.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 1:20AM
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I can tell you my husband took his issue to the top and received a letter from the President with a full refund. Well, perhaps, the President had "his people" handle the situation for him, but his name was on the letter which means my DH's aggravation paid off by going to the top. And, he didn't take no for an answer. I think they refunded him just to shut him up because he was tooooo relentless.....and it worked!!!!!!! Squeaky wheel.....and he was.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 9:56AM
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My parents have had a Samsung set for 2-3 years and have not experienced any issues. All washers and dryers will rattle or vibrate to some degree due to the moving parts - drums, belts, air movement, etc. Doing laundry is a very mechanical process that will always generate a certain amount of noise. It may be as simple as the metal panel on the side of your machine making a noise due to transmitted vibrations when the dryer drum turns. There can be any number of such minor issues, but that doesn't mean your unit is defective.

The scratched glass due to drum misalignment is definitely a problem, but the fact that it's happening a second time piques my interest. I went through several defective Dacor ovens a few years go. Most had chipped enamel or door misalignments. After going back and forth with Dacor and my local dealer, it became clear that the regional distributor was not storing the ovens according to the manufacturer directions. The distributor was stacking too many of them, well beyond what the manufacturer allows, and it was causing the frames to warp and become damaged.

It's possible that your local Sears or distributor is mishandling these units before they reach you. It's also possible that the shipping bolts were removed before the unit was delivered. Subjecting a front loader to the bumps of shipping without the bolts in place may be enough to displace your drum, especially if the installers went over some pot holes and did not take special care. It's also odd that it takes two weeks to have your units serviced. I have a Miele set and I get next day service here in Phoenix. You would think that service for a Kenmore product would be much more readily available and accessible.

I'm sorry you're going through this. If quality is of the utmost concern, I would look at Miele and Bosch. Bosch offers a better value, Miele offers higher build quality. Either of them should give you years of trouble-free performance.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 7:30PM
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I also find it odd that the replacement washer had the same issue. It makes me feel like _I'm_ not using the washer correctly. But, this isn't my first front loader, and with a household of 3 adults, we don't do that much laundry.

I know the shipping bolts were not removed until delivery. However, they did place the washer and dryer on their backs outside my home to screw in the pedestals before bringing the units into my house and up the stairs. I don't think they removed the shipping bolts until the washer was in my house on the second floor.

The one to two week turnaround time to get a service appointment has been standard during this washer/dryer saga. I'm not sure if the Sears services all appliance brands they sell, or just Kenmore, but in either case they are 'backogged' enough that this much time is needed to get an appointment.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 8:51PM
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Oh, and to follow up...

I faxed a letter to the manager of the Sears store explaining all the problems I've had with the laundry pair, and requested they pick up the washer and dryer from my house within the next week and give me a full refund.

I didn't hear back for 2 business days so I called the store. They told me the manager was on vacation for a few weeks, so I asked to have whoever is filling in for her to read my fax and call me back. The same day I got a call from the original salesperson who sold us the pair. He apologized for all the problems and let me pick a day next week for Sears to pick the washer and dryer up from my house... we'll be getting a full refund.

In the mean time we are searching for a replacement pair at another store.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 8:59PM
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Posted by cgi101:

> I don't think they removed the shipping bolts until the washer was in my house on the second floor.

> I know the shipping bolts were not removed until delivery.

how would you know, if you weren't sure when they were removed ?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 8:13AM
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The question of when can be answered with an exact point in time, or a time interval. I know the shipping bolts were removed after delivery, in between the units being removed from the truck, and the washer being powered up on my second floor. I can't visualize the details of the delivery from months ago, but I do remember making a mental note of seeing them remove the bolts sometime during that time period.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 1:08PM
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Sorry this happened! What a nightmare! Be sure when you get your new machine (whatever it may be) to plug it into a surge protector.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 1:52PM
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I also have a Samsung VRT model and I can tell you I would trade it in in a minute for an old top loader. I'm not expecting a very long life. The darn thing may get clothes clean but it can't rinse the soap out. I would have to do an extra wash every time with no soap to get all the residue out. And I don't want any advice about how much soap I use or how soft my waster is. I use the minimum needed to clean the clothes and our water is very soft without a softener. These machines are too concerned with saving hot water and not enough with doing laundry. It takes water to rinse and no magic wand will change that.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 5:13PM
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Glad everything worked out for you. You received a reply in less time than I expected. Good luck with your new set.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 9:29PM
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It is such a shame that you have experienced such negative problems. I have no faith in all the brands quite frankly. I'm totally disgusted with all the washing machine companies.

No one cares about quality any more, and that has only started to happen since we started to export labor over seas. Hence, very inferior products.... in fact, I'd say expensive disposable products. The ONLY way these manufacturers will make a better product is if the customer stops buying, but you know that will never happen.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 7:17AM
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**Saved up and bought my DREAM washer and dryer Samsung front loader. First year had to replace belt on dryer, was told by Samsung that I was not using machine properly :( REALLY!! Do not abuse or misuse my machine I was very protective of them. Then 2 months after my warranty went out dryer quit heating and I have now been told by Samsung I am basically SOL. LOVE how big companies blame the consumer instead of the product. I will never by any Samsung products again, I know this won't shut down the company but at least my hard earned money won't be wasted.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 5:32PM
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nerdyshopper ('way back last October 19) wrote: "The darn thing may get clothes clean but it can't rinse the soap out. I would have to do an extra wash every time with no soap to get all the residue out. And I don't want any advice about how much soap I use .... I use the minimum needed to clean the clothes ...."

There is an internal inconsistency in those statements. Detergents (including soap) do not clean clothes; all a detergent does is make water wetter by breaking down surface tension in the droplets. It is the water, not the detergent, that cleans the clothes. If there is water present in the rinse but it is insufficient to rinse out the soap, then there MUST be too much soap, more than the "minimum needed."

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 8:48AM
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