What you should know about the increasing complaints about refrigerator safety

When Americans complain to the Consumer Product Safety Commission about dangerous products, household appliances are their main target, according to a USA TODAY analysis of more than a decade of data.

But over the past two years, an unprecedented increase in complaints has focused on just one type of appliance: refrigerators, mostly Samsung ones.

Through July, the most recent month for complete data, consumers reported 471 refrigerator safety complaints this year – the highest number since such data was first released in 2011. That's five times as many complaints about refrigerators as three years ago.

And since 2020, more than three-quarters of all refrigerator safety complaints filed since 2020 have gone to Samsung owners.

In a class action lawsuit against Samsung, plaintiff Matthew Jordan used a thermal imaging camera that he said revealed dangerous temperature fluctuations inside the refrigerator.

In a class action lawsuit against Samsung, plaintiff Matthew Jordan used a thermal imaging camera that he said revealed dangerous temperature fluctuations inside the refrigerator.

Samsung buyers complained of ice maker malfunctions, freezer over-freezing, water leaks, fire hazards, perishable food, and numerous stomach upsets, which they attributed to refrigerators running above the temperature at which food could be safely stored.

Read the full investigation: Security complaints are increasing, most of them against Samsung

Is there a recall from Samsung?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued neither a warning nor a recall.

But the agency confirmed this week the There is an ongoing investigation when the commission denied USA TODAY's request for records and correspondence related to Samsung refrigerators dating back to the last decade. The commission said disclosure would hinder its investigation.

The agency is subject to legal restrictions that critics say can slow down the process of alerting consumers about products it has deemed unsafe. Commission officials must first ensure that the information it plans to release is accurate, notify the company, seek the company's comments and negotiate corrective measures.

This would mean that consumers would have to retrieve each complaint about a refrigerator from the Commission's online database to find out how frequently consumers of a particular brand have reported problems.

See recalled devices: Search USA TODAY's consumer recall database

Frustrated customers who said they received little to no response from Samsung created a Facebook group with more than 106,800 members, criticized the company on social media, filed lawsuits in local courts and joined in several class-action lawsuits.

Many have still not received compensation for purchasing Samsung refrigerators that they claim are defective.

What does Samsung say about the complaints?

When USA TODAY contacted Samsung about the complaints, the company spokesperson asked reporters for information about customers who had shared their experiences with the news organization.

“As our request for specific customer details was declined here,” Samsung said in a statement, “we cannot provide any further comment on the specific experiences mentioned.”

The company defended the quality of its products, saying that “millions of consumers across the United States enjoy and rely on their Samsung refrigerators every day. We stand behind the quality, innovation and performance of our appliances, as well as our industry-recognized customer service. Samsung refrigerators also include a best-in-class warranty, including a 2-year warranty on the icemaker, a 10-year warranty on the compressor and a 5-year warranty on the sealed system.”

See which brand devices have the most consumer complaints

Check out USA TODAY's databases to see if consumers are complaining about your refrigerator model or other appliances in your home.

Searchable database: Household appliance brands with customer complaints about safety

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Samsung refrigerator safety complaints are on the rise. Here's what we know