What’s an “as is” sale and why won’t Samsung fix my washer?

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By Christopher Elliott

Sheri Lau’s Samsung washer doesn’t work, despite many repairs. Now the manufacturer claims it sold her the appliance “as is” and won’t help her fix it. Is she out of luck?

Question

I bought a Samsung washer from Best Buy in 2019. It was a total lemon! They replaced it in August 2020. But the second washer failed in June 2022. 

I called Samsung, and a representative told me the washer was out of warranty and I would have to pay for repairs. Samsung set up an appointment with one of their repair services. They quoted me $90 for the service call. 

A technician said my washer needed a drain pump. He ordered one and charged me $120. He called me later and said the part was unavailable, but I could order one online, and they would come back to install it. 

I asked him why he couldn’t order it, and he said Samsung only allowed them to buy their parts from them. Just wanting my washer fixed, I ordered the part. When it came in, the technician came back and installed it. He charged me another $120 for the service call.

The washer didn’t work. When I tried to do my first load of laundry, water gushed out of the bottom. I called the repair center repeatedly and left messages for three days, and no response. Initially, Samsung agreed to repair the machine. But then it said it could not find the right parts and canceled, claiming it had sold me the washer “as is.” I just want a working washer. Can you help me? — Sheri Lau, Dexter, Mich.

Answer

Samsung should have fixed your washer as promised. You can’t just say you’ll help a customer and then refuse, claiming there’s no warranty on the washer.

If you buy something “as is,” it means it’s not covered by any warranty. You’ll find “as is” most frequently used for used cars and appliances. But it’s highly unusual for a manufacturer to sell a new appliance “as is.” Some states prohibit retailers from selling appliances “as is,” but unfortunately, Michigan isn’t one of them.

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I would have argued that even though your written warranty (also called an express warranty) no longer covered your washer, an implied warranty did. I have more about implied warranties in my ultimate guide to fixing your appliance on Elliott.org, my consumer advocacy site. Basically, a washing machine should last 13 years, and the manufacturer implies that it will last about that long. Two years is far too short a lifespan. (Here’s how to fix your own consumer problems.)

But here’s what made me take your case: Samsung told you that it would fix your ailing washer and then changed its mind because it couldn’t find the right parts. Excuse me? The manufacturer can’t find its own parts? Perhaps it should look inward for the solution. (Related: My Samsung dishwasher stopped working again. Can I get a refund?)

I see companies doing this all the time — they blame another department, or company policy, for not being able to help a customer. But they ignore the fact that they are in control of the other department, and they set company policy. So, from the perspective of a consumer, those excuses are inexcusable. (Related: Samsung won’t give me the $150 E-certificate it promised if I bought a Galaxy Z Fold3.)

You could have reached out to one of the executive contacts for Samsung I publish on my consumer advocacy website. A brief but firm email detailing your troubles might have fixed this appliance problem.

I contacted Samsung on your behalf. If offered you a $563 refund, which represents the depreciated value of your Samsung washer. Maybe your next washer shouldn’t be a Samsung.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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