Woman: Refrigerator cooks food instead of cooling it

By Amy Davis, Investigative Reporter/Consumer Expert, adavis@kprc.com
Published On: Feb 18 2013 04:50:36 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 18 2013 05:45:04 PM CST

Feb. 18, 2013: Your refrigerator is supposed to keep your food cold, but a Houston woman says her fridge got so hot it turned into an oven. Amy Davis reports.

HOUSTON -

Your refrigerator is supposed to keep your food cold, but a Houston woman said her fridge got so hot it turned into an oven.

It's a problem the manufacturer has known about for years. The defect has been documented in LG and Kenmore French-door refrigerators made since 2005.

The flaw prevents the lights inside the refrigerators from turning off when the door is closed, essentially turning the refrigerator into an Easy Bake Oven.

"It cooked the milk, melted some other stuff ... and it was a blast of heat when he opened the door," explained Sorcha Hysmith of when her husband opened the refrigerator door one morning.

When they closed the door to their LG refrigerator the night before, the lights inside never shut off. The sockets started burning, causing charring and the plastic housing actually melted.

These are not inexpensive appliances. Hysmith paid $2,300 for her LG French-door fridge in 2007.

Local 2 has discovered it discovered the Hysmiths are not alone. LG and Kenmore settled a class action lawsuit in 2010 about this same defect. As part of the settlement, the companies agreed to reimburse customers what they paid to repair the defect if customers submitted their claims by Nov. 2012. Hysmith's incident didn't happen until January 2013.

"If you know this is something that could happen, that could burn your customer's houses down, why wouldn't you make every effort to reach out and contact people as opposed to fixing the problem after it occurs," Hysmith asked.

KPRC Local 2 asked LG that same question. LG spokeswoman Clara Chang emailed this statement:

"Thank you for bringing this customer's issue to our attention. Yes, we are aware of this occurring from time to time. There were certain models of LG refrigerators (and some Kenmore-brand refrigerators made by LG) manufactured between February 2006 and February 2008 that might experience this issue. There was not a recall because it was determined that this is not a safety issue. LG is happy to work with Sorcha Hysmith to solve her problem. If other consumers experience this, they can contact LG customer service."

The other part of that class action lawsuit requires LG and Kenmore to extend the warranty on the fridge for 10 years from the date of purchase. Since Hysmith purchased her refrigerator in 2007, she can get her repairs for this specific issue until 2017. She said LG required her to show her original receipt. She was able to get that by calling the store where she purchased it six years ago.

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