"I bought my front-loading Maytag washer several years ago and joined a class action lawsuit that was technically settled," says Janis Grant, "but my $400 settlement had to be applied to a new $1,200 machine - I figure that Maytag actually profited from the recall."
In April 2005, Maytag settled a class action lawsuit alleging odor, mold and mildew problems with its Neptune washers. More than two million consumers who purchased a Maytag Neptune Front-Load Washing Machine (any model, including stackables) any time between April 1, 1997 to August 9, 2004 were included in the class and were entitled to replacement costs up to $500, and/or washing machine purchase certificates up to $1000.
In September 2005, Maytag recalled 5,000 Neptune top-loading washing machines - it had received reports that the spinner could malfunction and break apart, posing a safety risk to consumers.
Grant received a certificate for a replacement machine but it was only available by special order, a very overpriced top-loading machine. "My settlement was for $400 to be applied to this $1,200 machine, so the net outlay for us would have been $800," says Grant. "As anyone can see, the restrictions placed upon certificate redemption only worked in Maytag's favor, not the consumer's. This was an outrageous sum. In the long run, Maytag profited from the settlement and the recall!
When I got involved, I was appalled that Maytag could profit from a settlement. I think I just tossed this certificate out. I ended up buying a second-hand washer and it was definitely not a Maytag: I've had it for more than five years and it is working well. Meanwhile, the Maytag is sitting in my basement collecting dust. My impression from researching about Maytag online is that they knew they had a defective product. I'm not knowledgeable about these matters but I could smell a skunk!"