/ Home & Energy

Beko should have acted faster on fridge freezer fires

Fridge freezer

If you own a 5 to 11 year old Beko fridge freezer (not a standalone fridge or freezer), check your model number, as they have been linked to 20 fires in London over the last three years.

The London Fire Brigade has put out an urgent fire warning to owners of up to 500,000 Beko fridge freezers, following a tower block fire last week.

Newer models don’t have the fault, so don’t worry if you’ve bought one in the last four years.

Although Beko has taken some steps to contact customers with the affected models, it hasn’t acted very swiftly – it knew there was a problem with these fridge freezers last June. Why did it take the company over a year to make this safety problem public?

Do you own a Beko fridge freezer?

The fault relates to the fridge’s defrost timer, which can fail and overheat when water gets into it, leading to an electrical malfunction.

Beko says it has tracked down and sent letters to 200,000 customers, and made modifications to 11,000 appliances so far. But ultimately, more needs to be done to ensure all customers are protected; not just those Beko has contact details for.

If you have a Beko fridge freezer that is 5 to 11 years old, check the model numbers on Which.co.uk to see if yours is affected. If it is, call Beko immediately to ask what steps need to be taken.

Do you own a Beko fridge freezer? Have you had any problems with it so far? Did you receive a letter from Beko asking you to get in touch, or maybe the company has already modified your fridge freezer?


You may be interested in the Electrical Safety Council’s new online tool to make the process of discovering if you have a recalled product and also how to deal with its removal, much easier http://www.esc.org.uk/recall/


This is a good example of a service that could have been useful but is far from helpful. Having photos is useful, but all the ones I have looked at are small and blurred.

With such a large list of recalls it would be helpful to have an index that is easy to use, but some of the descriptions are not very useful. For example there are are various entries for ‘AC/DC Adaptor’ and another entry reads ‘Counterfeit Pink Styler sold at Superdrug’.

In an ideal world we would all register our purchases with the manufacturer and the manufacturer would contact us if they recall a product. I don’t believe many people do register their products unless there is an incentive, such as a free extended warranty. Maybe we need a smartphone app to make it easy to register our purchases to receive information about recalls.







hayley says:
4 April 2013

i bought a beko fridge freezer 20th april 2012,last week the smell of rubber burning woke my husband up early hours of the morning,it was the fridge freezer. which had tripped my electrics in the kitchen,the model number is cf645 and the serial number starts with 12, this is not one of the recalled numbers so its obvious there is faults with newer models too. beko sent an engineer out who said it needs a new compressor and timer.

Katherine says:
18 August 2013

We had a Beko fridge freezer which was one of the effected models. A Beko engineer came out back in 2011 to replace the defrost timer. On the 20th July 2013 we were woke at 3:30am, to the sound of our smoke alarms. My husband dashed out of bedroom & ran down stairs to discover that there was a fire in the utility room were the fridge freezer was located. We got our 3 children out of the house quickly & called for the fire services. They put out the blaze & soon confirmed that the fire started at the back of the fridge freezer. Beko have since sent out an engineer & 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 & my family. Why has this happened? There is no warning from Beko about the capacitors!

Kevin Aiken says:
23 September 2014

Ive just found out on the internet that My Fridge/Freezer is a potential fire hazzard due to the Defrost timer because I was looking for instructions as the Fridge/Freezer is not working, after British Gas said It has a faulty defrost timer, the engineer wasnt aware of the outstanding recall on my make and model no of the appliance.

No-one from Beko contacted me about this, beko says when the timer is replaced there is no risk of fire?

Im just glad I did a google on my product, since I have a faulty defrost timer aswell

Michelle Walsh says:
3 January 2014

I bought a frost free fridge freezer in April 2011 just before Christmas after buying all my Xmas food the whole thing seems to have packed in I payed a lot of money for this & expected it to last longer than 19month this has caused a lot of distress as it not only ruined my Xmas but me and my daughter are left with out a fridge freezer & I,m unsure if its still under guarantee I would expect it to be at least 2yr but I,ve a feeling this won’t be the case. Could you please get in touch asap as I carn,t afford £120 to get an electrician to come out and have a look.


Michelle, whatever the guarantee a product should also have reasonable durability. This is covered in the Sale of Goods Act and it says “the product should:

be of satisfactory quality
quality of goods includes
– appearance and finish
– freedom from minor defects (such as marks or holes)
– safe to use
– in good working order
– durability

durability – the durability requirement is that the item should
work or last for a reasonable time but it does not have to
remain of satisfactory quality. For example, a pair of wellington
boots should stay waterproof but does not have to keep its
brand new appearance.

reasonable time – this depends on the item and the
circumstances. What is reasonable is determined by taking
everything into account and considering what an impartial
person would think is reasonable.”

If you have used the appliance normally then an impartial person would not expect it to fail in 19 months. I’d suggest a fridge-freezer should last 10 years.

I suggest you check the obvious if you haven’t already- for example that you have not accidentally switched it off at the socket, or have a failed fuse in the plug (does the light still come on?). Does it make a noise but not get cold? I’d approach the retailer then, who may require you to have it checked at your cost (you may still be at fault). The advantage of you having someone do a basic check on the appliance is you can then give the retailer the cause of failure and point out they have an obligation under the Sale of Goods Act to make recompense for lack of reasonable durability and also to refund your examination fee. This is independent of any guarantee.

That is my interpretation – Which? may have better advice. If this friendly approach fails you can then take (or threaten to take) the retailer to the small claims court to get redress. All should be cheaper than buying a new appliance.


Sorry to hear of your problem with the fridge freezer. As the product is out of the warranty period, the onus is on you to prove to the retailer that it was faulty at the point of sale and that what has happened is not just general wear and tear.

My colleague Lewis Skinner has written about this issue. Titled ‘The big faulty goods fob off’, it may be useable in your circumstance.

I’d also suggest you look at the following links about faulty products:

Hopefully you will get a satisfactory ending


The tendency seems to be to focus only on “faults” in goods – that is an abnormal manufacturing defect that exists when purchased. However SoGA has a requirement of durability, as I said above. Acceptable durability might not be met for other reasons – such as a design that is inadequate or materials or components generally embodied that are not up to the job – just a poor quality product. Does Which? not think this is a separate source for complaint that could simply be judged against a “reasonable durability” criterion? SoGA defines these terms. I think that having to prove a fault pre-existed puts many people off pursuing a claim. Help with a simpler route would be appreciated. A fridge-freezer that lasts 19 months clearly does not meet the test of durability, does it?


A component that is faulty at the time of manufacture will usually be apparent during the guarantee period. Failures due to underspecified components, unsuitable materials and poor design are – I believe – responsible for many cases of premature failure of products outside the guarantee period.

Providing that a fridge-freezer has not been damaged or abused then it should last at least ten years and have a warranty for this period. Obviously this cannot be expected to cover damage or abuse. Fridge-freezers are often damaged by users’ efforts to remove ice or by using them in an enclosed space without adequate ventilation.

The Sale of Goods Act isn’t really fit for the 21st century and what the consumers need is decent warranties without paying extra for them. If manufacturers are responsible for the cost of replacement or repair, their products will soon become more reliable.


I’m no expert on the Sale of Goods Act but have asked a colleague and this was their reply;

….starting point is that you won’t find a a specific requirement set out in the SGOA that goods be “reasonably durable.” Durability is one of the factors to consider when determining whether something is of “satisfactory quality” or not – this is the relevant extract from the Sale of Goods Act 1979:

Section 14
(2) Where the seller sells goods in the course of a business, there is an implied term that the goods supplied under the contract are of satisfactory quality.

For the purposes of this Act, the quality of goods includes their state and condition and the following (among others) are in appropriate cases aspects of the quality of goods—

(a) fitness for all the purposes for which goods of the kind in question are commonly supplied, (b) appearance and finish, (c) freedom from minor defects, (d) safety, and (e) durability.

Malcolm is right though that where an item doesn’t last as long as it should have, you’d focus on the durability element, but it would be with a view to arguing that it is not of “satisfactory quality” rather than not “reasonably durable”.

…..claims under the SOGA wouldn’t just be where a product has a specific defect, the SOGA as Malcolm suggests, could also apply where you just make your product out of materials that weren’t up to the job i.e. it could be made exactly as the manufacturer intended, but it’s still not of satisfactory quality or fit for its purpose.


Richard, thanks for following this up. Durability became a specific requirement under “Implied terms about quality and fitness” in the 1994 amendments. So SoGA clearly requires a product to be durable and introduced this for a reason. I don’t know where the act defines durable, but the Office of Fair Trading “Sales of Goods Act explained” has a glossary that defines durable as” …..last for a reasonable time” – the latter being “…what an impartial person would think was reasonable”. I presume these terms are based on legal interpretation.

Certainly if Michelle’s fridge-freezer has just stopped working after 19 months without misuse then lack of reasonable durability must be an issue?

It seems to me that durability is one key element of SoGA and included to be used as one means of pursuing redress. I think we should pay more attention to it as a means of helping consumers.