Canada: Arora v. Whirlpool: The Case Of Smelly Washing Machines

Smelly washing machines were at the center of a recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal. In Arora v. Whirlpool Canada LP, the plaintiffs all bought Whirlpool front-loading washing machines. The early models of these washing machines resulted in complaints of odour, mould and mildew. Though Whirlpool gradually improved its design and instructions to avoid these problems, the plaintiff owners of the earlier models claimed that the machines they purchased were shoddy. They sought a form of rebate for diminution in value on behalf of owners or previous owners of 2001-2008 Whirlpool front-loading washing machines and the costs for their damaged clothing. The plaintiffs did not allege that the washing machines were dangerous. Instead, they alleged breach of express and implied warranty, breach of the Competition Act, negligence and waiver of tort.

The certification motion judge and the Court of Appeal, in reasons released in October, dismissed the certification motion. The motion judge concluded that the pleadings did not disclose a cause of action and that a class action was not the preferable procedure. Justice Hoy, writing the reasons for the Court of Appeal, noted that the appellants' pleading was not well particularized.

Breach of Express Warranty

The warranties provided by Whirlpool in the proposed class period were limited to one year from the date of purchase and were applicable only if the washing machine was operated and maintained according to its instructions. The warranties provided that Whirlpool would pay for replacement parts and labour costs to correct defects in materials or workmanship. The Court of Appeal agreed with the motion judge's finding that the express warranties provided by Whirlpool did not apply to the plaintiffs since the plaintiffs did not sue to correct defects in materials or workmanship, but instead alleged defective design, and each plaintiff brought their claim more than a year after they purchased their washing machine.

Breach of Implied Warranty

The Court of Appeal also dismissed the plaintiffs' argument that Whirlpool breached the implied condition that its washing machines were fit for their purpose. The plaintiffs claimed against only the manufacturer, whereas the Ontario Sale of Goods Act applies to sellers only. Since there was no privity of contract between the plaintiffs and Whirlpool, the Court of Appeal ruled that the plaintiffs' claim for breach of implied warranty had no reasonable prospect of success.

Breach of the Competition Act

The plaintiffs also alleged that Whirlpool breached the Competition Act's provisions regarding false or misleading representations. The Court of Appeal found that since the plaintiffs had relied on Whirlpool's omission to inform the public of the self-cleaning shortcomings of their washing machines, instead of an express representation, their claim under the Competition Act could not succeed.


The crux of the plaintiffs' claim was for pure economic loss arising from the negligent design of a non-dangerous consumer product.

The Court of Appeal disagreed with the motion judge who found that there can be no such claim. It noted that the jurisprudence had not settled this issue. However, the Court concluded that this was not an appropriate case for such an extension of the law of negligence because it was not a case in which the plaintiffs were without a remedy.

The Court of Appeal found that the appellants' claim for diminution in value of their washing machines was more appropriately a contract claim than a tort claim. Deciding such a claim in the class actions context would require the court "to analyze a myriad of consumer transactions in tort, without the framework of consumer protection legislation" which would burden the court system. The Court of Appeal further found that the Sale of Goods Act and Consumer Protection Act provided a statutory remedy against the seller of the machines, and the Business Practices Act and Consumer Protection Act provided remedies against Whirlpool for unfair practices.

Waiver of Tort

The plaintiffs also claimed for waiver of tort. This cause of action allows the plaintiffs to sue for a disgorgement of Whirlpool's profits instead of their losses. In order to plead waiver of tort, there has to be a "wrongdoing". As the motion judge and the Court of Appeal concluded that there was no breach of contract, no breach of the Competition Act and no negligence, there could be no waiver of tort.


This case might suggest that courts are taking a hard-line on pleadings: rather than allowing the plaintiff to amend the pleading to correct deficiencies, the court appears ready to simply dismiss the certification motion. The result in this case might be informed by the fact that the court found that the plaintiffs had other avenues of recourse, even against Whirlpool. Though this case left the door open to potential claims for pure economic loss for negligent design of non-dangerous consumer products, it suggests that the law of negligence will not be extended to provide a remedy to plaintiffs who have a more appropriate cause of action that they have failed to plead.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions