Interview by Patrick Avenell
LG Electronics Australia has today announced a voluntary recall of 24 refrigerator models. Current.com.au spoke candidly with LG general manager of sales, Michael Doyle, to find out more about this recall.
When did you first find out about this flaw?
Michael Doyle: In September 2010 we had one issue which we investigated, but it was an isolated issue. And then more recently we’ve had one other issue, and this is when we decided to take action.
Twenty-four models is a lot – do you worry about what effect that might have on LG’s wider refrigerator market?
MD: We see there are brand issues surrounding refrigeration because of the recall, but we think we’re doing the right thing by doing a voluntary recall, which will be stronger for the brand in the long run. It’s not a short term fix that we’re doing this for, it will help our brand overall if we can correct the problems.
How long does the in-home fix take to complete?
MD: It’s a 20-minute fix in home. We’ve prioritised our service centres to make this a priority in dealing with customers. For us, it’s quite a simple fix and it won’t cause too many issues for the consumer.
Is this recall in any way related to LG’s March 2010 refrigerator recall?
MD: No, they are complete separate.
Is it discussed at LG the number of recalls that you’re being forced to do?
MD: Absolutely, it’s top of mind, in the sense of ensuring the consumers get value for money and a product that they expect not to have problems with, and again this is us locally make the decision to voluntarily recall this. This is about ensuring the customers are looked after.
What steps are you taking to ensure that a consumer goes into a store, or when a retailer decides to stock LG refrigerators, that there won’t ever be a problem with them?
MD: The product we’re talking about finished in 2006, obviously there’s been a lot more development and lot more structure and procedure put in place to ensure this doesn’t happen and it’s not an ongoing issue.
Secondly, we’ve got a local compliance team as well, which is made up of divisional heads to ensure that final sign off on product and to ensure we’re putting the best possible product into the market happens. There’s a lot more control mechanisms in place.
We’re comfortable that this is not going to be an ongoing issue.
How is LG’s whitegoods business going? Did you notice any effect from the March 2010 recall?
MD: Our whitegoods business is stronger than it’s ever been, across all categories, and it continues to grow. We have an extremely strong proposition in whitegoods. Of course, there was a blip before, but that was because the product that we were talking about before was actually current product —product that we were selling and was on the floor, so we took some product off the floor and that obviously had an impact in momentum.
This is not necessarily the case this time: the product has been off the floor for at least five years now, so this probably won’t have the same sort of impact.