LG has agreed to a preliminary settlement of a class-action lawsuit that alleges that LG front-loading washers were prone to developing mold, odors, or both. About 700,000 to 800,000 washers bought in the U.S. between 2002 and 2006 are affected, according to one of the lawyers representing consumers. The manufacturer denies any wrongdoing, and the court didn’t decide who’s right. Owners of these washing machines have until October 10 to file a claim.

A similar settlement last month involved 5.6 million front-loaders made by Whirlpool between 2001 and 2010 and sold under the brand names Whirlpool, Kenmore, and Maytag.

LG Settlement Details

So why did LG settle? "These kinds of settlements are commonplace—designed to forego protracted legal proceedings," says John Taylor, vice president of LG's public affairs and communications. We asked Taylor if design changes that address front-loader washer mold and odors have been made since 2006. Yes, including a magnet that props the door open ever so slightly to allow fresh air to circulate in the wash tub; a redesigned antimicrobial door gasket with drain holes to help the gasket dry more quickly to keep mold and mildew away; and a high-powered “Tub Clean” cycle that removes detergent residue to keep odors and mildew away. It is recommended that consumers run this cycle every month to help keep the washer clean and fresh. Here's what else owners need to know:

Who qualifies?
Owners of all LG front-loading washing machines bought in the U.S. between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2006.

What are the compensation options?
If you had front-loader washer mold or mold-related odor problems you may be compensated $35, or a $105 rebate applies if you buy an LG front-loader within a year after the settlement receives final approval from the court.

Why only $35?
“Each case is different, with its own strengths and weaknesses, and its own damages model. This is the amount agreed to by the parties,” says Jonathan Selbin, one of the lawyers representing LG washer owners.

How do I file a claim?
Pre-qualified class members are identified in LG’s database by serial number and should receive a notice. LG has your info if you sent in the warranty registration card or complained to them and received service or a replacement. You do not have to submit a photo of the washer’s serial number or proof of purchase. A claim must be filed online, faxed, or postmarked no later than October 10, 2016. See this settlement website for details. 

What if I’m not in LG’s database?
If you are not a pre-qualified class member, you must submit a photo of the washer’s serial number if you still own it, or proof of purchase. See the settlement website for details or call 1-855-856-9355 for a recorded message. You can also contact the settlement administrator by emailing info@lgwashersettlement.com

I got rid of my LG front-loader. Can I get the $35 refund?
Yes, if you have proof you bought it between 2002 and 2006, such as a credit card receipt, canceled check, or proof of an extended warranty. Or you could file for the $105 rebate if you want to buy a new LG washer once the settlement receives final approval. 

When will I receive the money?
When the court approves the settlement and there are no appeals. The final approval hearing is on October 13 at the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey.

What if my machine doesn’t have mold or odors but was made during the time period covered?
You’re excluded from the class and get nothing.

Unhappy with the preliminary settlement?
You can object or exclude yourself. Find the details in the settlement FAQ section of the settlement website.

Email questions to kjaneway@consumer.org.