A proposed class action claims Bosch’s 800 Series stainless steel microwave/oven combos are unfit for their intended use due to a defect that plagues the display panel.
The 61-page lawsuit alleges the defect can cause the display on the control panel of the microwave/oven combos to dim or fade to the extent that they become unreadable or unusable. The failure of the product’s control panel display, essentially the microwave/oven’s “steering wheel,” poses a problem—and potential safety hazard—in that a user is unable to view the temperature display, switch between cooking modes, or use the clock or timer, the complaint says.
The suit accuses Bosch of taking “deliberate and willful” steps to conceal the 800 Series microwave/oven combo display panel issue from consumers. Moreover, the case claims defendant BHS Home Appliances Corporation has declined to provide consumers with replacement microwave/oven combos when the display panel problem manifests, opting instead to either replace faulty units with similarly problematic ones or to deny warranty claims altogether.
“Indeed, rather than providing consumers with new, non-defective Microwave/Ovens after their units failed as a result of the Defect, Bosch either replaces each defective unit with another defective unit, provides a new, similarly defective Control Panel that fails to remedy the problem, or improperly denies the warranty claim,” the lawsuit, filed on August 17 in California, says.
Be sure to scroll down to see who’s covered by this lawsuit, which model numbers are allegedly affected and how to get class action lawsuit news sent to your inbox.
Which Bosch microwave/oven combos have the alleged defect?
According to the lawsuit, the model numbers of Bosch 800 Series microwave/oven combos affected by the display panel defect include, but are not limited to, HBL8743UC, HBL8751UC, HBL8753UC, and HBL87M53UC. The appliances are designed to be installed within the walls of a kitchen and reportedly retail for more than $2,000.
“All of the Series 800 Microwave/Ovens are designed, manufactured, and sold with the same or substantially similar control panels,” the suit reads.
What does the lawsuit say about the alleged display panel problem?
Per the lawsuit, the display panel interface for Bosch’s 800 Series microwave/oven combos is all-digital, meaning there are no knobs with temperature markings and no way to manually control the unit. The case stresses that the display panel is critical as far as using the product, which “becomes useless and/or dangerous” in the event a consumer is unable to see the button options, cook time and temperature.
“Cooking using the Microwave/Ovens without a working display is akin to driving a car without a speedometer or other gauges that tell the driver critically important information,” the complaint reads.
According to the suit, the 800 Series control panel display was designed and manufactured with a vacuum fluorescent display (VFD). The case notes, however, that liquid crystal displays have almost entirely replaced VFDs in household appliances given they’re more reliable and easier to use “from an electrical standpoint.”
A VFD uses filaments to conduct electrical currents that, in turn, cause the display characters, i.e., the time and temperature, to glow. Per the case, the voltage for the display is generated from a power supply circuit and energizes the display filaments, causing the panel to illuminate and become visible.
The lawsuit says that applicable industry standards dictate that for this type of display, the current should be controlled, but not the voltage. In the Bosch 800 Series microwave/oven display panels, the arrangement is the opposite: the voltage, as opposed to the current, is controlled, the case claims.
As a result, the display of the control panel will burn out “in an accelerated manner” to the point of becoming unusable, the suit says.
The case goes on to allege that although a feasible alternative has been available to Bosch for decades—that is, swapping out the VFD and replacing it with a liquid crystal display—the company nevertheless “chose to design and manufacture the Control Panels with outdated and defective technology.”
As a result of the Defect, the Microwave/Ovens pose an unreasonable risk of harm to consumers and their property and are subject to premature failure.
Had Plaintiffs, Class Members, and the consuming public known that the Microwave/Ovens were defective, posed an unreasonable risk of harm to themselves and their property, and would cause damage, they would not have purchased the Microwave/Ovens at all, or on the same terms or for the same price.”
What about Bosch’s warranties? What does the case say?
According to the complaint, Bosch expressly and impliedly warrants that the 800 Series products are fit for the ordinary purpose for which they’re sold. For instance, the company’s warranty, as relayed in its “use and care” manuals, covers the microwave/ovens for defects for one year. The complaint notes that such appliances, however, should last for much longer:
It is generally recognized that modern microwaves should last between 9-12 years, and certainly longer than one year. A wall oven can last even longer, up to 16 years.”
Regardless of when the display panel issue might manifest, Bosch breached its product warranty at the time it shipped the 800 Series products at issue given they were “defective when they came off the assembly line,” the lawsuit claims.
Further, Bosch allegedly has no non-defective microwave/ovens with which to replace the products purchased by consumers. Any repairs offered by the company are “simply a band-aid that does not resolve the defect,” the suit says, and Bosch is therefore unable to fulfill its warranty obligations “at the point of purchase, or anytime thereafter,” meaning the warranty is “therefore breached immediately upon purchase.”
Who’s covered by the class action?
The lawsuit looks to cover a proposed class that includes all U.S. residents who bought a Bosch 800 Series microwave/oven.
The suit also looks to cover separate “subclasses” of California, Colorado, Illinois and Florida residents who’ve bought a Bosch 800 Series microwave/oven combo within the maximum period of time allowed by law.
I own a Bosch 800 Series microwave/oven combo. How do I add my name to the lawsuit?
With class action cases, there’s usually nothing you need to do to be included. In general, you’ll only need to act if and when a case settles by filing a claim for whatever compensation the court finds appropriate.