Jennifer Myers of Arlington, Va., alerts 9News To Dishwasher Dangers

11:30 PM, Nov 15, 2012   |    comments
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ARLINGTON, VA. (WUSA) -- "I open my front door, immediately smelled just a pungent electrical smell of fire," says Arlington resident, Jennifer Myers.

Back in August, on a late summer's night, Jennifer Myers says she returned to her Arlington home just in time.

"I felt the countertop, it was burning hot. I opened the dishwasher, and immediately saw that the trays had started to discolor. There was also heat wafting out at me, these trays turned a dark orange," says Myers.

She says her dishwasher started up ... while she was gone.

"When I left the house, the dishwasher door was closed. But I had not activated it. It turned itself on, while I was out of the house."

How that happened is still a mystery.

According to Consumer Reports, more than 15 million appliance units in the past 5 years have been recalled for problems that could cause a fire. Their analysis of reports sent to the Consumer Product Safety Commission showed almost half of those recalled units were dishwashers. 

And, a significant number of appliance problems were not caused by human error.

"We found at least 23 percent are clearly attributable to problems with the appliances: mechanical, electrical or design flaws. In some instances, the appliances turned on by themselves," says Dan DiClerico of Consumer Reports.

When Jennifer contacted GE about the problem, she says the company offered little to no help.

"The offer was to try replacing a part that they didn't know definitively caused the problem. And, for me to keep the same unit in my house," says Myers. "That's why I tried contacting you. I think it's very irresponsible."

So, we reached out to GE, to help get some answers.

Initially, GE offered Jennifer a voucher to cover part of the cost to replace her dishwasher. Then, they reconsidered. And, in a statement, they said they were sorry for Jennifer's experience, and touted their excellent safety and consumer satisfaction record.

FULL GE STATEMENT:
"We are sorry for Ms. Myers' situation and the difficulty she has had getting it resolved. The safety of our products and serving our consumers are paramount at GE. We have both an excellent safety and consumer satisfaction record so I can assure you that what Ms. Myers experienced is rare. We have offered to replace her dishwasher or give her a refund."

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And, they offered to replace Jennifer's dishwasher or give her a full refund.

"For about $670 to buy a new unit," says Myers.

The company also plans to take Jennifer's old unit and do some research to determine what's wrong.

For now, Jennifer is washing dishes by hand. And, she says she won't ever buy a GE product again.

"They've lost my customer loyalty."

Anchor Lesli Foster said to Jennifer: "But you did get some action."

Her response: "Only because of you." 

Written by Lesli Foster & Stephanie Wilson
9 News Now & wusa9.com