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LG asked to pay faulty dryer owners 100,000 won

Nov 21,2019
The Korea Consumer Agency (KCA) asked LG Electronics to pay 100,000 won ($85) in compensation to each customer who had purchased one of the company’s problematic dryers.

In a Wednesday announcement, the KCA said LG should “pay 100,000 won to each petitioner,” referring to the 247 people that filed the complaint against LG in late July. If LG accepts the compensation plan, the KCA plans to suggest that all customers with the defective dryers, regardless of whether they signed the original complaint or not, be entitled to a 100,000 won payout.

The KCA said it suggested 100,000 won in consideration of the inconvenience customers experienced using and repairing the dryers in question.

The component that caused the problem was the condenser, which cools the hot moist air collected in the dryer, turning it into water to be drained away. The condenser used in Tromm Dual Inverter Heat Pump dryers was supposedly self-cleaning, rather than requiring accumulated dust to be regularly removed from the filter.

“In its advertisement, LG Electronics said the condensers can self-clean at any time, but in reality, the function only worked under certain circumstances - this limited the right of choice for consumers who made the purchase in belief of those ads,” the KCA said in a press release.

The agency said LG was therefore responsible for the dryers’ condensers accumulating dust but acknowledged that it had fulfilled its duty of quality assurance by repairing the devices and offering 10 years of servicing for free.

The KCA did not accept the accusers’ claim that the malfunction resulted in negative health effects, saying it was “difficult to prove the causal relationship” between the two. In the complaint, owners had argued that the dryers failed to properly drain water, causing other components to rust and lead to diseases like skin irritation.

The compensation plan suggested Wednesday is not a final settlement as both sides still have to accept it. According to the timetable, the KCA will send out official documents on the plan within 14 days, after which both parties have 15 days to respond.

If either party refuses the plan, the only option left will be a civil suit.

It remains to be seen if LG will accept the plan. A total of 1.45 million people purchased the Tromm Dual Inverter Heat Pump dryer between April 2016 and June 2019. The 100,000-won compensation plan could cost the company as much as 145 billion won. On the other side, customers have been asking for a full refund.

“We will examine the suggestion in detail and come up with a stance before the deadline,” an LG spokesman said, adding that the suggestion from the KCA had not arrived yet.

Apart from the KCA settlement procedure, the Fair Trade Commission is also investigating claims that LG used exaggerated ads to sell the dryers.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]