Samsung Dealt Another PR Blow with Washing Machine Recall

About 2.8 million Samsung washing machines are being recalled in the U.S. following reports that the machine tops can unexpectedly detach during use, posing risks and causing injuries.

The recall, which involves 34 models of top-load washing machines, comes about a month after Samsung announced it would cease of production of Galaxy Note 7, which had persistent problems with overheating, catching fire and sudden explosions.

Samsung has received 733 reports of washing machines experiencing excessive vibration or the top detaching from the washing machines, nine of which are related reports of injuries, according to a Nov. 4 statement from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

"Our priority is to reduce any safety risks in the home and to provide our customers with easy and simple choices in response to the recall," says John Herrington, senior vice president and general manager of Home Appliances, Samsung Electronics America. "We are moving quickly and in partnership with the CPSC to ensure consumers know the options available to them and that any disruption in the home is minimized."

The latest safety problem deals another blow to the Seoul-based multinational conglomerate whose global recalls of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphones may ultimately result in more than $6 billion in losses.

Despite what seems to be complex and hard-to-solve safety issues with Samsung's electronics and appliances, some industry experts are positive about the company's ability to resuscitate its business and emerge more or less unharmed from its recent setbacks.

Eric Schiffer, chief executive officer of Reputation Management Consultants, a company that helps celebrities and corporations manage brand crises, believes that Samsung made a strong move by killing the Note 7.

"Recalling its washing machines will not hurt Samsung's reputation because consumers see a further protective move in a niche most people rarely tie to the firm," said Schiffer. "After the new latest 'explodalabra' recall, if the revised washing machines have problems, Samsung should bury them in a brand cemetery next to the Note 7."

Meanwhile, the newly revealed artificial intelligence feature that will come with Galaxy S8, set to be released after the Mobile World Congress trade show in late February next year, could also help Samsung make a comeback, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The added AI button will be akin to Apple (AAPL) 's Siri, Microsoft (MSFT) 's Cortana, Amazon (AMZN) 's Alexa and Alphabet (GOOGL) 's virtual assistance. The improved AI service is likely to come from Samsung's acquisition of American AI startup Viv Labs Inc. in early October.

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