LG Settles Class-Action Lawsuit Over Refrigerator Compressors

Consumers with certain LG refrigerators can receive compensation for repairs or damages.

If you own an LG French-door or side-by-side refrigerator manufactured between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2017, you might be entitled to anywhere from $50 to more than $3,500 in compensation as part of a class-action lawsuit LG settled last week.

According to Amey Park, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, the lawsuit alleged that almost 1.6 million LG refrigerators might stop cooling because of compressor-related problems anywhere from a few months to a few years into ownership. The settlement covers 31 models.

In the settlement agreement (PDF), LG maintains that the refrigerators are not defective and denies any wrongdoing. "The settlement resolves a pending lawsuit about alleged refrigerator cooling issues," says John Taylor, senior vice president of LG Electronics USA. "Simply put, we agreed to the settlement to avoid further litigation costs and in the interest of customer satisfaction."

As part of the settlement, LG is providing qualifying consumers with anywhere from $50 to more than $3,500, depending on the problems they experienced, as well as an extended five-year warranty (from the purchase date) and enhanced customer care program for any future repairs related to the problem.

How LG Fridges Perform in CR's Tests and Surveys

LG French-door and side-by-side refrigerators often perform well in our lab tests, but our 2019 member survey shows that LG French-doors and side-by-sides only receive Good ratings for predicted reliability.MORE ON REFRIGERATORS

"A Good rating on this attribute, which is the middle rating of CR's ratings scale, means that their problem rate hovers around the average of what one should expect within the first five years of ownership for a refrigerator," says Simon Slater, CR's associate director of survey research. "Compared to other refrigerators we rate, it is, therefore, middling in terms of reliability."

Our surveys also look at refrigerator problems that arise, including compressor problems. Our 2019 survey shows that LG French-doors are an outlier for compressor problems, with 8 percent of LG French-doors in our sample having such problems, compared with 3 percent of refrigerators overall. Other outliers for compressor problems include 9 percent of Bosch side-by-sides, 8 percent of Kenmore French-doors, and 8 percent of Electrolux side-by-sides.

How to Know If You're Covered by the Settlement

Who qualifies? Consumers who own a covered model manufactured between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2017. You can see a list of covered models with the relevant serial number ranges on the settlement website. According to Park, LG will also be sending pre qualified claim forms to certain customers in its records.

What are the compensation options? The compensation options vary depending on the number of so-called "no-cooling events" you've experienced, how long repairs took, and whether you can provide proof in the form of receipts, repair invoices, photographs, or other documents.

With adequate documentation and at least one "no-cooling event," you can receive up to full reimbursement for parts and labor, up to $1,000 for unsuccessful repairs by LG and its authorized repair providers, up to $1,000 for delayed repairs, up to $3,500 for property loss, and up to $650 for replacement of the refrigerator.

If your refrigerator has stopped cooling but you can't provide proof, you can still file a claim with a statement under oath and receive anywhere from $50 to $450 for repairs and property loss.

LG is also extending the warranty for all settlement class members to five years from the purchase date and providing them with its Enhanced Customer Care Program (details below).

For more information on the compensation options, see the settlement website.

What is the Enhanced Customer Care Program? The Enhanced Customer Care Program is a dedicated customer service program for consumers who have these refrigerators and continue to experience cooling issues during the extended warranty period. According to the settlement website, this program will provide faster repair service, an increased number of service technicians, and additional compensation. Qualifying consumers can receive a minimum of $500 up to the purchase price for three or more "no-cooling events," a minimum of $400 up to the purchase price for delayed repairs of more than 30 days, and up to $3,500 for property loss with proof. The program will last at least three years.

How do I file a claim?
You can file a claim by going to the settlement website and filling out a claim form. You can also email a completed claim form to LG or mail the company a physical copy of the form.

What if you own a covered model but haven't had a problem? If you own a covered model but have yet to experience cooling issues, you are still eligible to receive the extended five-year warranty and the Enhanced Customer Care Program as long as a "no-cooling event" occurs within five years from the purchase date. You will also receive the benefits through Sept. 22, 2021, even if your warranty, or the extended five-year warranty, has already expired. You can obtain these benefits by submitting an Enhanced Warranty Claim Form (PDF) or contacting LG.

What are the deadlines? The deadline to file a claim for a past cooling issue is Jan. 11, 2021. If you wish to exclude yourself from the settlement so that you can bring another lawsuit against LG related to this problem, or comment on or object to the settlement, you have until Nov. 23, 2020.

When will you receive the money? Payments will be sent to qualifying consumers once the settlement receives final approval from the court. The final approval hearing is set for Dec. 15, 2020, at the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Clarification: This story, originally published on Sept. 15, has been updated to include additional levels of compensation consumers are entitled to for repairs and damages.

By Daniel Wroclawski via Consumer Reports Last updated: September 17, 2020