What's the Deal: Companies settle washing machine mold lawsuit

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Several class action lawsuits against washing machine manufacturers have recently reached preliminary settlements.

The settlements mean you could be eligible for some money back, but you need to act fast if you want to get reimbursed.

We also have some ways to avoid the problems that have now affected millions of machines.

Front-loading washers often perform better than top-loaders in Consumer Reports tests, but some consumers got more than they bargained for when buying one.

"The issue started out as mostly online chatter about moldy odors but it turned into multiple class-action law suits involving more than 6 million front-loading washing machines," said Dan DiClerico from Consumer Reports.

If you previously or currently own an LG washing machine sold between 2002 to 2006 with mold issues, you may qualify for a $35 dollar settlement or a $105 dollar rebate on a new LG washer.

The other lawsuit involved Whirlpool, Maytag and Kenmore machines made by Whirlpool between 2001 and 2010.

If you own one of those front-loaders you may qualify for a $50 dollar settlement, twenty percent off the purchase of a new washer or dryer, or reimbursement of up to $500 dollars in expenses you incurred because of past mold or odor problems.

In the meantime, Consumer Reports says there are a few simple steps that can prevent mold and mildew.

Wipe down the glass and door gasket daily. Between washes leave the door open slightly. Also, remove detergent buildup from the dispenser.

And every month sanitize the machine by adding a cup of chlorine bleach and running a hot-water wash without laundry.

"Manufacturers claim they've resolved the problem by improving the door gasket and adding a tub clean cycle," said DiClerico.

To find out whether a washing machine you own or previously owned is affected by these settlements, visit http://www.lgwashersettlement.com/ or http://www.washersettlement.com/

Do note, if you have an LG top-loader, your claim form for reimbursement must be postmarked by October 10th. For machines made by Whirlpool, claim forms must be postmarked by October 11th.

For more information on these class action lawsuits, visit ConsumerReports.org.
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