/ Home & Energy

Samsung – fix all faulty fridge-freezers for free

Empty fridge

In the wake of the Beko fridge-freezers scare, if a burning smell was coming from your fridge-freezer, and you could hear the sound of plastic cracking inside, wouldn’t you be concerned? I would.

And I’d like the manufacturer to send an engineer out pretty damn quick to fix it for me – for free.

It might sound like a far-fetched problem, but according to Samsung’s technical reports, this is exactly what’s been happening with the RSH1 and RSJ1 side-by-side fridge-freezers. Defrost heaters at the back of the appliances get too close to a metal sheet, which can heat up, leading to cracks in the lining and burning.

We understand that this isn’t a safety issue but it’s certainly a design flaw – if there are undetected cracks in the lining, moisture will enter the insulation and performance will be affected.

What is Samsung doing to fix the problem?

Samsung have been fixing the problems by sticking aluminium tape over the cracks, while newer versions of the fridge-freezers have been modified and aren’t affected.

Samsung told us that if the faulty fridge-freezers were within the warranty period, they’d fix the problem for free. But when we asked them about out-of-warranty machines they told us:

‘If the product is no longer under warranty, then customers are encouraged to contact Samsung customer services for further advice and we will do our best to provide a satisfactory solution.’

So despite our requests, Samsung haven’t confirmed whether customers will have to pay for the privilege of having their faulty products fixed.

Fix the flaw for free

This just sounds wrong to me. It’s not like owners of the affected appliances have been misusing their products; it’s a design flaw which means some machines will need to be repaired, and Samsung have admitted as much in technical notes sent to their engineers.

When Samsung’s RS21 fridge-freezers developed a problem which led to them heating up, Samsung agreed to repair this problem for free under an extended warranty covering that fault.

Wouldn’t it be so much better if Samsung did likewise with their RSH1 and RSJ1 and could confirm that all out-of-warranty appliances would have this problem fixed for free?


The manufacturers are morally and actually responsible, but they know that in consumer law they are not – it’s the retailer. I wonder if their customer services will attempt to just send them some of this tape to fix it themselves?

If they don’t provide a satisfactory solution to those with appliances out of guarantee the customer would only be able to follow the difficult path of trying to get compensation through the retailer under the Sale of Goods Act. Samsung should surely expect it to cost them much more in reduced future sales from each affected customer (and their friends and family), which would greatly exceed the cost of carrying out a repair for free?

We seem to be seeing more and more spectacular and dangerous failures of our appliances. Washing machine drums exploding out of the tub and lid, door glasses exploding or shattering – often when not even in use, fridges literally exploding or catching fire. It’s totally unacceptable.

Paul Adams says:
9 September 2013

Unfortunately you seem to have it wrong on your point about the DCNS21. Their modification was only partially successful and they were very reluctant to face the problems they had created with any degree of honesty. DON’T BUY SAMSUNG!!!

If a design fault is discovered, triggering a re-design for subsequent models and a necessary fix on affected models it’s as clear a case of it’s a fair cop that you can get. There’s no denying responsibility.

It’s possibly complicated by UK consumer law decreeing that the manufacturer’s aren’t liable, and directing affected customers to the place they bought it from instead. Maybe manufacturers are hoping to deflect some of the hassle and costs onto retailers?

I understand why the retailer has been designated responsible, but I’m not sure the current system works. If manufacturers were responsible under UK consumer law for design faults, products being not fit for purpose, not lasting a reasonable time – then it might work better for consumers. As it stands, small retailers, who may have sold a washing machine or fridge at an embarrassingly low profit which could be as low as £40 – £50 can find themselves in a situation 4 or 5 years later whereby a customer comes at them quoting the Sale of Goods Act wanting compensation which will cost them far more than the profit they made in the first place to comply with and have no chance of recouping that money from the manufacturer who is the real culprit.

Even large retailers may not get adequate compensation from manufacturers when they have to swap machines over out of guarantee, or pay out compensation. It’s hardly surprising that consumers have such a tough and stressful time trying to get their consumer rights when the people they are chasing compensation from are relatively blameless other than maybe not selling better quality products in the first place at times. I think this situation should be looked at.

John says:
26 July 2011

Fridge repairs and rip of Britian !!
Whirlpool Uk water inlet valve £86 Canada £45 ($67.56) Trying to get part from Canada but proving difficult

Paul says:
26 July 2011

I have noticed problems with my RSH1FTSW fridge freezer recently whereby the temperature just rises and then cools………This was sent as a replacement by Samsung in Feb 2009 because they had to repair my RS21 three times so they wrote it off……

I am really worried of where I stand now (can anyone advise??)

Companies like this should have fines imposed for known design flaws….

I will ring them tomoz and see what they say….. 🙁


This fault actually splits the rear liner of the machine which, if you ask most any fridge engineer, will render the machine unrepairable.

Once the liner is split moisture gets into the insulation and starts to break it down by filling the insulation with moisture. This causes the machine to work harder as it has to in order to maintain the internal temperature and can lead to problems with condensation on the outer wall and, on the inner wall this often presents itself as either excessive moisture or you get an ice ball forming.

Putting a sticky bit of aluminium foil over the hole in the liner is akin to trying to treat a gunshot wound with a band aid.

It won’t work.

Hi All

As an EX samsung engineer I can confirm that the RSH1 RSJ1 models do have a problem to which SAMSUNG have known about for quite a while concerning the liner burning issue.The placing of silver tape over the burn / crack of the liner DOES NOT repair the appliance but patches and hides the problem.The liner stops water from entering the insulation foam.Where water does enter the foam in this case the wettest part of the appliance it then freezes and then expands and whilst in defrost melts thus allowing more water in to freeze.The more water that impregnates the foam the less efficient the appliance runs and also causes water to seep onto the floor normally where the house holder doesn’t see it until its damaged flooring in the long term.

Anna says:
1 August 2011

My RSH1 model that I bought Nov 2008 has been making funny noises for the last week or so and the fridge cooling is very intermittent, i.e. it is cooler at the bottom and not at all at the top. I have just called Samsung and they have confirmed that they will get someone out to look at it as a ‘goodwill gesture’ and fix it for free…. Although to be fair they didn’t specify if I’d have to pay for anything else like call out as she was difficult to understand. So I’m to expect a call from an engineer in 24 hours to make an appointment to come out and fix it and I didn’t have to argue with them at all…. So sounds like they have decided to just get on with it and fix them, which is good news…. I will check with the engineer though whether I do have to pay for anything at all.

Design faults are extremely common. Service engineers are well aware of them. They can range from fragile parts, frequent failures of a a certain component and even problems that make a recall necessary on safety grounds. Most people are probably unaware of these problems in domestic appliances but the weaknesses of different models of cars are well publicised, thanks to websites.

The fault described above will shorten the working life of the fridge-freezer. Perhaps this is an unusual fault but it is extremely common for the working life of consumer goods to be limited by design faults of many kinds. They may not be picked up even with careful testing, since this does not simulate use for several years.

HI Matt,

Thanks for the update, I actually called Samsung about the free repair issue a couple of weeks ago and I have an engineer coming around next Wednesday to fix it at no cost. Our fridge freezer was past the 3 year warranty so thanks to Samsung for that. However I didn’t know about the cracking issue and our RSH1 is exhibiting those symptoms. I’ll call Samsung about the cracking problem and check with the engineer when he comes on Wednesday to see what the verdict it. I’ll update this forum with what they say.

I thought this fridge freezer was a premium product, we paid that bit extra to have an appliance that was visually well designed as well as having all the bells and whistles. If this fridge does become un-repairable after just over 3 years, as people are saying with this cracking issue, then it is entirely unacceptable. These appliances should last at least 10 years, especially as we paid that bit extra.

ALLEN says:
29 July 2011

Samsung obviously know about the fault so they should fix it without question.I own a Samsung TV, camera,Washer/drier and two computer screens.We are almost ready to buy a new fridge freezer and were automatically going to get a Samsung,but we are now having second thoughts.So come on Samsung hold your hands up and do the right thing before you lose a lot of loyal customers.

mike thompson says:
29 July 2011

Do you have to take the whole backplate off the fridge/freezer to check whether this problem is occurring?

There is also a known problem with the fridge (only) cooling/defrost cycle on the RSH1 and a new and differently placed thermostat is needed. samsung have always been most helpful to date.

Ted Lynch says:
29 July 2011

I cannot say I am in the least surprised at Samsung’s poor attitude to dealing with this issue…

I purchased a conventional Samsung Fridge-Freezer, so not a side-by-side style, last year on the strength of the Which? review. I had an issue with it and had to call their customer services. In the end I had to phone them >10 times, talked to the retailer and to my credit card provider about returning the item and in the end wrote to their UK head office. After all that I finally obtained the resolution *they* suggested on the very first call without even an apology!

Samsung just don’t understand the concept of Customer Service and as a consequence I am never buying any product from them again. I am smug in the knowledge that I have already purchased two TVs that would previously have been Samsung since deciding on this course of action. Vote with your feet I say!

Willsurrey says:
29 July 2011

Samsung’s after sales service is rubbish. Spare parts are only available from 1 or 2 websites which appear to be owned by the ame company. A letter of complaint sent to their Head Office was never acknowledged. I did what every savvy consumer does – shun Samsung products. Since the unacknowledged letter, I purchased a fridge freezer and a 42 inch LCD TV – both LG. There were perfectly suitable Samsung products in both cases but I refuse to do business with an unresponsive company.

I’m speculating that the aftersales departments of modern companies tend to be autonomous. They have their own budgets, charged with making their own profits and head office expects and demand that they make profit . I suspect that consequently they commonly see themselves as a separate entity, with their own interests and costs coming first. They may even be resentful of the manufacturing side who keep cocking these things up and causing them all sorts of hassle and expense putting things right.

I suspect they may often lose sight of the big picture, that they are all part of the same company and affect each other. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t really consider the fact that their actions – or inactions will lose sales for the retail end – which in turn will damage and threaten their interests too. Maybe they are more concerned with reducing their costs and balance sheet and no one at aftersales is concerned with the big picture. I speculate this about virtually all companies, it would certainly explain a lot of things wouldn’t it?

I live in Spain and purchased my Samsung side by side in Spain and it,s an RSH1 model. We,ve
had it 2 years, and it started making noises in the fridge side, it sounded as though a fan blade
was hitting something when it was turning. I,m an electrician so i decided to find out why this was happening. I stransfered as much food as i could into the freezer side allowed the freezer to get to it,s operating temperature then unpluged the machine, in the fridge side the panel below the lighting
column only 4 screws hold this panel in place but first remove the shelves and drawers. carefully
remove the panel away from the back of the fridge enough to unclip the 2 pairs of cables,
lay the panel on it,s back and the fan will be seen, 3 screws hold the fan to the insulation remove
these and carefully lift out the fan and lay on it,s back, where the fan revolved was a build up of ice
and the fan was striking the ice, with careful use of a hairdryer the ice can be melted and mopped
up. When it,s dried out replace the fan and 3screws. return to the fridge and behind the removed
panel is also a cooling radiator this can also have a build up of ice, as in my case, again dilligent
use of a haidryer mop up the water and when dry replace the panel, first reclipping the 2 cables
replacing the 4 screws,put back the shelves and plug back in. The fridge should return to it,s
opperating temperature and the circulating fan should be working silently again.Not a difficult job
to do, took me hour and a half , a lot cheaper than calling out Samsung and i did,nt lose any food.
use of a hairdryer

mike thompson says:
1 August 2011

Alan – this is the problem with the fridge I noted above. To remedy you actually need to move the thermometer away from the fan to allow the auto defrost cycle to run for longer. What you have done is merely sort in the short term and it will ice up again. You may also have a problem with the water dispenser freezing up and not working…….

Anna says:
1 August 2011

I bought the RSH1 model in Nov 2008 and a couple of weeks ago it started making some really loud noises and now it’s quietened down but not cooling in the fridge very well at all. I phoned Samsung and they have confirmed that an Engineer will call in the next 24 hours to make an appointment to come and see it. They said that this would be done as a goodwill gesture and I didn’t have to argue with them at all, although I must admit I wasn’t actually sure what if anything I have to pay as she reeled off a whole load of bits that would be free !! Her accent was difficult to understand ! Sounds like Samsung have realised that they have to do something about these older models, which is good news….

Anna says:
2 August 2011

What a waste of time. They say they will send out an engineer free of charge and then cancel it. I call them and they spend hours saying they can’t get through to the service centre. Then they tell me that the model isn’t covered as it doesn’t have this problem as she checked those that were affected on the website and that they won’t send an engineer out free of charge… What on earth do I do now….

I’ve been having problems with my RS21 practically since I bought it in 2005 without realising exactly what the problem was. The water didn’t work on the front of the freezer and we tried to find out how to fix it to no avail. Next the fridge started to get warm at the top and froze at the bottom. Samsung did repair it for us (we were just outside the extended warranty) but we weren’t told that the parts only had a THREE MONTH PARTS WARRANTY. If anyone has suffered this issue, they will know that the problem takes a while until the outward symptoms become apparent. I trusted that Samsung would fix any further problems but when I called them again we were told that it was outside all warranties and they won’t fix it. I am currently putting together a complaint letter as I feel we’ve been misinformed by Samsung resulting in us having to put up with no water and a fridge that needs defrosting often to stop it over heating.

James Harper says:
4 September 2011

I purchased an RS21 side by side Samsung fridge / freezer in Dec ’05. My machine has encountered regular problems with the well documented cooling fan issue. I have had to take time off work and lost food. I have had at least 3 replacement components and the problem has just returned again. I called Samsung who informed me that is it is now out of warranty and basically it is my issue to get it fixed and my cost. I have had a couple of quotes and it will cost, with labour, around £100-£120 to replace. If I choose to put the repair cost towards a new model instead I will have replaced the unit in 5.5 years, which seems crazy. I still have my old Hotpoint fridge which is in the garage, is 14 years ago and has never had a problem. I don’t see why I should have to pay to fix a poorly designed fridge that clearly isn’t fit for purpose. Samsung have never resolved the problem, the engineers simpy replace a poorly designed component with another one, and after around 15 months it fails again. Samsung extended the warranty to 5 years, but the best any customer can expect is to get to around 6.5 years old before they get to this decision point. I would expect some good will from Samsung to continue to replace these parts. Should I have pushed for a replacement a long time ago ? Customer service from Samsung is awful. Like others, I will never buy Samsung again. I have already talked friends out of buying this brand.

Unfortunately we only have up to 6 years (5 in Scotland) to claim under the Sale of Goods Act so it is possibly too late. Given the difficulty most people encounter even with fresh claims I would have thought it virtually impossible to get them to do anything after the 6 years.

I personally believe that if all retailers were made to compensate consumers for all design flaws and poor quality products they sell it would bring them to their knees – it’s that big an issue. They all know they must keep the floodgates no more than ajar at all costs.

I have a RSH5SHMH American style fridge freezer for about 9 months now and it started making strange loud cracking sounds like those described above. The lady at Samsung Customer Service was rather poor, hardly understood English and kept putting me on hold to ask her colleagues questions. Has anyone else had this problem with this model?

I’m quite annoyed that I may have to pay for the call out if the machine doesn’t make the noise when the engineer is here and the lady couldn’t tell me how much it would cost.

A very strange and poor company in my opinion.

Hi Matt
just wondering what to do . I have a SRS585HDSS side by side bought in 2008 same as all the others, fridge not getting cold enought and fan makes a noise. We live in Australia so i rang samsung to inquire about the fridgel, the lady told me what my fridge was doing and what was happing to it. I needed to make a appointment for a person to come an fix it. It would cost the callout $99 plus the part witch was around $500 to $700 plus time per Hour to fix it and traverling as we live out side there zone. I was weary that the fact that they knew of the folt and how to fix it. and that i was going to have to pay so i did some reading to find i am not alone. What should i do get them to fix it or what