CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Across the country consumers are claiming the compressors in their LG refrigerators are failing just a few years after their purchase.
This year, the law firm Girard Sharp filed a nationwide class action lawsuit against the company for the defect.
The case claims, “LG Refrigerators have been failing en masse within 36 months," despite refrigerators lasting 13 years on average."
The case also states that the compressor defect existed in the appliances when they were sold.
“Plaintiffs were deprived of the benefit of their bargain and bring this action to obtain relief for themselves and others who purchase an LG," according to court documents.
Adam Polk, the lead attorney on the case, said the case started after numerous consumers reached out to Girard Sharp about malfunctions.
“There is a lot of frustrations surrounding the failures when they occur,” Polk said. “People expect their refrigerators to last, I think, around 10 years. It’s a major household appliance, like a stove, and people rely on them to keep their food cold. But what we alleged in the complaint is when the compressor fails, the refrigerator can’t cool the food anymore and people are really left to live out of a cooler until an authorized repair person can get out and fix the unit, which could be weeks.”
The law firm filed a class action lawsuit in California but after the response from consumers, decided to file another one to represent all LG consumers in the United States.
Polk said Girard Sharp conducted an investigation and determined that the problem was widespread.
“The crux of our lawsuit that the refrigerators appear to be defective. The authorized personnel who work on the refrigerators have stated that the defect is known and, in our view, it is not being adequately disclosed to consumers at or before the time of purchase,” he said.
Annette Stephenson lives in Conway and recently joined the lawsuit after her fridge broke down.
“The ice wasn’t freezing and the next thing we knew it was like room temperature,” Stephenson explained. “We tried lowering the temperature and it wasn’t doing anything and it basically just went real warm.”
Stephenson said although they purchased an extended warranty with Best Buy, they were told an LG representative had to make the repair.
An employee with Best Buy said its Geek Squad technicians are trained to service LG repairs but if there is no one trained on staff, the company will work with LG.
Stephenson said a service representative came after a few days and diagnosed the problem with the compressor but didn’t fully fix the problem.
She said the family had to wait another week before a representative could come back to their home.
“When you don’t have a refrigerator, you can’t have food for a family of five in the house to be able to cook meals, you have to eat almost every single meal out,” Stephenson said.
From eating out to wasted food, she estimated that the broken fridge cost them around $1,000. She said they were offered $200 to reimburse food costs.
After the second visit, Stephenson said the compressor was fixed but she is still upset about the experience.
“When we buy a product, we expect it to be serviced and to give us these kinds of restrictions, to not have any respect for the people who are going through all these issues and to ask a family of five to eat the expense because their product doesn’t work, it’s just not fair,” she said.
Stephenson said she is also concerned that stores continue to sell these LG fridges.
The 2019 class action lawsuits filed by Girard Sharp are not the first lawsuits claiming defects in the company’s fridges.
A 2017 lawsuit alleged a defect in the LG fridge caused widespread compressor failure. The case was later dismissed.
WMBF contacted multiple other appliance repair shops in the area and many said they receive numerous calls about LG fridge issues but not many said they service the brand.
A lawsuit filed in Illinois in 2018 also alleged, “various LG refrigerator models contain a defect in the compressor which renders them unusable.”
That case was voluntarily dismissed.
LG said while it cannot comment on pending legal matters.
"Customer satisfaction is key priority at LG. Our home appliances are enjoyed by millions of Americans every day, and we’re proud that our products are recognized by industry experts for their reliability and that LG has been awarded more JD Power Awards for customer satisfaction than any other appliance manufacturer. "
The company also said when cooling system issues arise it takes good care of its customers. The company fully covers parts and labor related to servicing the sealed system or compressor for five years.