It took six years but Steve Chambers finally got justice for a dishwasher fire that destroyed his KitchenAid model. When Whirlpool, which made the dishwasher, refused to investigate or to refund the cost of his ruined appliance, Chambers, of Frederick, Md., became the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the company. This year Whirlpool agreed to a settlement that could benefit hundreds, if not thousands, of owners of KitchenAid, Whirlpool, and Kenmore dishwashers.  

According to plaintiffs in the litigation, the electronic control boards of certain Whirlpool, KitchenAid, and Kenmore dishwashers manufactured between October 2000 and January 2006 overheated, ignited, or emitted smoke, sparks, or fumes—and stopped working. They further charged that the defendants breached warranties, were negligent, and violated various state consumer-protection statutes.

As part of the dishwasher fire settlement, the defendants deny that the dishwashers in question have any defect or pose any unreasonable safety or fire hazard. They also deny having violated any law or engaged in any wrongdoing. Nevertheless, any current or former owner of one of the dishwashers listed in the settlement website can receive a cash rebate from Whirlpool of 10 to 30 percent, depending on circumstances, when purchasing a new KitchenAid, Kenmore, or Whirlpool dishwasher.

The charred aftermath of a dishwasher fire.
A consumer submitted this picture to SaferProducts.gov.

To find our whether a dishwasher you own or owned qualifies, you’ll need to match your model and serial number to the list included in the settlement website’s Court Documents section. Any overheating problem must occur no later than February 4, 2018, and a prospective claimant has 120 days from the date the dishwasher fire or related problem occurred to report it to the settlement administrator.

Appliance fires are not uncommon, as we detailed in our 2012 report, “Appliance Fires Pose a Safety Concern,” which included mention of Steve Chambers and other homeowners who experienced dishwasher and other appliance fires.