We recently reported that Samsung had contracted with Dish Network to do in-home repairs on the millions of Samsung top-loading washers recalled in 2016. We also heard from a number of people who said that the Dish techs tried to upsell them on satellite TV service while they were doing these washing machine repairs. Dish downplayed this sort of in-home marketing, but the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says repair techs should be focused on their work. The CPSC also says it investigating at least one incident that appears to have occurred after a washer was repaired.
When we asked Dish about the practice of marketing directly to customers who are just trying to get their washers repaired, the company told us that it wasn’t at all unusual.
“At any appointment that Dish technicians are performing in-home repairs to Samsung washing machines, our technicians are focused on supporting the needs of that customer and may discuss other offerings on a case-by-case basis,” explained the satellite TV giant.
It’s worth noting that Dish, in an apparent effort to branch out amid the shift away from traditional pay-TV, recently began offering in-home repair services of its own, starting last year with a program that will come to your house to fix your iPhone. The company also offers this service on an enterprise level to businesses.
A spokesman for the CPSC tells Consumerist that the agency is aware of Dish techs attempting to upsell Samsung owners on pay-TV service. In addition to the customers mentioned in our story, a number of consumers have reached out directly to the CPSC.
“We have raised the issue with the company,” says the CPSC’s Scott Wolfson. “It is not something that should transpire during the time that an approved service repair person is in the home of an affected consumer.”
Wolfson says that when a consumer arranges a recall repair for their Samsung washer, “their expectation is that the focus is solely on the recall and the issues with their washing machines.”
The CPSC was unable to address whether Dish may have crossed any legal lines by allowing these in-house sales pitches on Samsung’s dime, however Wolfson did note that when the agency okayed Samsung’s use of Dish and others to supplement the recall repair force, it was with the understanding that “employees of that service company carry out the job of fixing the washing machine as we have approved.”
The agency says it has brought this issue to Samsung’s attention and believes that the company is addressing the CPSC’s concerns.
Consumerist has reached out to Samsung for additional comment on this story, but have not yet received a response.
Just as in our coverage of the recall repair, complaints to the CPSC about Dish Network sales pitches are not the dominant gripes coming from Samsung washer owners.
“We have heard from consumers about not getting repair calls answered, not having service times set up, having some of those service appointments canceled on multiple occasions, as well as issues after the repair has been done to their washing machines,” admitted Wolfson.
That said, the CPSC maintains that it’s important for owners of these machines to follow through on getting the repairs done.
“The risk from our perspective is too great for someone to take the approach that they just aren’t going to respond to the recall,” explained Wolfson.“Consumers who own a recalled Samsung washing machine should act on this recall immediately. An unrepaired unit presents a real safety risk.”
The agency revealed that it is currently investigating an incident in Texas that appears to have occurred after the washer was repaired.
“We are taking this matter seriously and moving quickly to understand what happened,” says the CPSC. “We urge all consumers who experience an incident — whether their washing machine is still under recall or was repaired — to report it to CPSC right away via SaferProducts.gov.”