South Korean-based tech company Samsung is accusing rival company LG of vandalizing several of its high-end washing machines just weeks before they were to be showcased at the IFA 2014 convention in Berlin, Germany.
According to media reports, the incident occurred earlier this month at a shopping mall in Berlin. A Samsung employee witnessed an LG employee enter the store and allegedly damage the doors of four Crystal Blue washing machines, each of which retail for approximately $2,700. The Samsung employee who witnessed the vandalism called police to report the incident.
But a spokesperson for LG said the employees entered the store for “research” purposes, and that there was no intent to vandalize the high-dollar washing machines. It’s not uncommon for employees of rival companies to peruse around each others’ establishments, essentially spying in a legal fashion. Of course, vandalizing and intentionally causing damage to another competitor’s products is usually against the law, regardless of the region/jurisdiction.
Samsung issued the following statement regarding the allegations: “It is very unfortunate that Samsung had to request that a high-ranking executive be investigated by the nation’s legal authorities, but this was inevitable, as we concluded that we had to get to the bottom of this incident.”
LG admitted that it had damaged the washing machines in question but claimed it was done on accident. The company says its employees accidentally broke the doors of the Crystal Blue washing machines while conducting research, citing that “wing hinges” were ultimately to blame for the damage. Following the incident, LG offered to pay for repairs to the damaged washing machines; however, Samsung refused the monetary compensation and instead took the matter to the authorities.
LG responded to the allegations with its own statement soon after, saying “If our company had an intention to destroy products of a certain company to tarnish the image of the product, it would be common sense to not have our executives directly carry out such acts. We hope that this is not an attempt to damage our reputation.”
This case will ultimately come down to whether or not LG intentionally and deliberately damaged its rival company’s washing machines. If investigators believe the employees did in fact damage the units on purpose, it could be hit with a fine and possible even face legal prosecution. In the meantime, however, business will go on as usual, with both companies continuing to battle one another for a greater portion of the major home appliance market.