An inquest into a fire fatality has concluded that a Beko fridge freezer was at fault. It’s now been recommended that there should be tougher penalties for manufacturers that fail to recall faulty products.
Santosh Benjamin Muthiah, a 36-year-old father of two, died after a fire broke out in his home in north London in 2010. An inquest into his death has now concluded that it was caused by a defective defrost timer in his Beko fridge freezer.
As many as 500,000 fridge freezers made between 2000 and 2006 could be affected by the same problem. However, a recall wasn’t issued until after Mr Benjamin-Muthiah’s death in 2010, despite the court hearing that Beko had been aware of faults as early as 2003.
Recommendations on faulty product recalls
The coroner leading the inquest made a number of recommendations to ensure greater protection for product owners. These include:
• Stronger penalties for manufactures that fail to recall products, including a possible prison sentence.
• It being mandatory for appliances to carry flame-proof labelling so they can be identified after a fire.
• The creation of a government-funded website to record product recalls.
As it currently stands, manufacturers can be fined £5,000 for failing to notify authorities of faulty products. This compares to the average cost of recalling an appliance, which is £11m.
Beko fridge freezer owners comment
‘On 20 July 2013 we were woken up at 3:30am, to the sound of our smoke alarms. My husband dashed out of bedroom and ran down stairs to discover that there was a fire in the utility room were the fridge freezer was located. We got our three children out of the house quickly and called for the fire services. They put out the blaze and soon confirmed that the fire started at the back of the fridge freezer.
‘Beko has since sent out an engineer and a forensic fire investigator who confirmed that the capacitor on the back of the fridge was the cause of the fire. It has been such a devastating experience for me and my family.’
We welcome the call for tougher penalties – your safety must be top priority, so manufacturers must act fast to recall products as soon as they realise they’re faulty. We also want the Government to do more to analyse and release the data held on appliance fires, and to put more pressure on manufactures to reduce the thousands of fires currently caused by faulty products.
Do you think there should be tougher penalties for manufacturers that fail to recall products after discovering a fault? Would you find a website that records all product-recalls useful?
Should there be tougher penalties for manufacturers that don't recall potentially dangerous faulty products?
Yes (98%, 986 Votes)
No (1%, 11 Votes)
Don't know (1%, 10 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,007
If you own a Beko fridge freezer that’s more than seven years old, find advice on what to do in our Beko fridge freezer fire Q&A.