Author Lauren Howells
Whirlpool has reportedly informed MPs that it estimates around one million faulty tumble dryers, which the Express describes as “at risk of bursting into flames”, could still be in UK homes.
Machines could pose a fire risk
After messages were put up on Hotpoint’s and Indesit’s websites (both made by Whirlpool) back in 2015, informing customers that in some “rare cases” excess fluff on certain models could “come into contact with the heating element” and ultimately pose a fire risk, the manufacturer initially told customers they could carry on using their tumble dryers as long as they didn’t leave them unattended while in use. Customers were also told to clean the fluff from the filter each time they used the machine.
A product recall was not issued.
The BBC says that the tumble dryers in question have been blamed for some fires in British homes, including one which killed two men in Wales.
Customers told to unplug their machines back in February
Earlier this year, Whirlpool told customers that they should unplug their machines and not use them until they have been repaired.
Only half of the potentially dangerous appliances have been repaired
According to the BBC, Whirlpool has reportedly told the government that it has only repaired around half of these potentially dangerous appliances.
The Guardian reported that the Director of Communications for Whirlpool, Ian Moverley has said that it had been difficult to inform those customers who owned the remaining faulty machines that they should be either modified or replaced.
Whirlpool reportedly told it had failed to act quickly
MPs on the government committee reportedly told Whirlpool that it had failed to act quickly, even when it discovered that the tumble dryers were not functioning as they should.
According to the BBC article, Rachel Reeves, the committee chair, asked:
“How many fires are needed for a proper recall of these tumble dryers? We have already seen a number of fires and deaths, yet in many of our homes we still have these appliances.”
The government must intervene if there is not a full product recall, says Which?
In response to the Whirlpool tumble dryer safety issue, Alex Neill, consumer champion Which?’s Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said:
“It is shocking that despite admitting that there are one million potentially dangerous tumble dryers in people’s homes, Whirlpool is still failing to recall these machines voluntarily.
“Whirlpool must no longer ignore its responsibility for the safety of its customers and must conduct a full product recall. If it does not, the Government must intervene.”