samsung galaxy note 7 supply
The logo of Samsung Electronics is seen at its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, July 4, 2016. Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

A week ago, Samsung announced that it has ceased production and distribution of the Galaxy Note 7 handsets following several reports involving the phones’ lithium-ion battery overheating and catching fire, but this is not the first time the electronics giant has experienced backlash regarding product quality and safety.

The tech giant, known for its vast production of various consumer electronics, home appliances and telecommunications equipment, is currently facing other issues involving product safety. A recall for over 140,000 Samsung washing machines was initiated in Australia because, just like the Galaxy Note 7, they were likely to cause fire. A recall of substandard laundry units in the US is possible as well.

Regulating bodies have been all over Samsung regarding safety issues for years. About 227,000 microwave ovens have been recalled in the US on two separate years: 184,000 in 2003 and 43,000 in 2009. In 2007, a recall for 20,000 washing machines was also done in the US due to fire hazards. In the company’s home country, South Korea, there was a massive recall involving 210,000 refrigerator units back in 2009.

It does not get easier for consumers affected by recalls as well, as Samsung’s product replacement processes usually require a lot of paperwork and restraint. All of these issues raise concerns that the electronics conglomerate is more worried about its earnings than consumer safety. Samsung’s financial losses due to the Galaxy Note 7 debacle alone could reach up to US$17 billion (AU$22 billion).

Although Samsung has stated that it has repaired about 80 percent of the defective washing machines in Australia as of last month, many of the owners are not satisfied with the fix, which involved placing plastic bags over the washers’ connectors. A forensic study funded by over 4,000 Samsung washing machine owners concluded that Samsung’s methods were ineffective since the plastic bags did not keep moisture from going into the connectors. Samsung declined to reimburse the owners until an Australian government agency investigated the issue.

A possible washing machine recall may also be in the works in the US. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, a number of Samsung washers made since 2011 can cause personal and property damage when they used to wash water-resistant clothes and heavy linen.