/ 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?

Comments
Emma says:
12 July 2011

I was advised to check my Beko fridge freezer by a friend of mine as I had received no contact from Beko or its supplier. Sure enough after checking on the website I found that mine had to be modified. I entered my details on Friday as of today have received no call. I therefore called again today and was advised sometimes the email details do not go through and that they will send my details again. I was advised that this is going to take another 2-3 days!!!! I have 2 children in the house and am extremely worried. How many more fires, injuries and deaths before Beko will take this matter seriously and get on top of the problem!! Lets hope I receive a call soon.

Patricia jones says:
12 July 2011

I have just got a reply from beko re the interio light casing burning,the said as it’s out of warranty they cannot help me,I think everyone needs to check inside the casing that houses the interio light bulb to check for signs of burning,I know that I am not the only one who has had this problem………how many more people have to have a fire with these fridge freezers before they help people.under the sale of goods act 1979 which states goods should last a resonable amount of time and I don’t think that mine has,it’s still a fire risk I have no choice than to dispoe of it and replace with a better make,I intend to contact BBC tv show watch dog. And also warn everyone else the device from BEKO is disgusting to say the least.DONT FORGET CHECK WHERE THE INSIDE BULB IS HOUSED…any questions please feel free to ask me..

Patricia jones says:
12 July 2011

Sorry typo, I mean the service from beko is disgusting.

Patricia jones says:
12 July 2011

Here is the update,just had a email from Beko telling me to contact the supplier Comet..Be warned guys they are not very helpful to say the least ,yes they fitted the defrost timer but what caused the inside light to burn and melt the inside casing??? Like ive said in earlier posts PLEASE check yours I am not the only one who has had this problem..

Fridge engineer says:
12 July 2011

I’d like a wager as to the cause of your burnt light casing, may I suggest having a look at the fridge door where is makes contact with the door, my guess is that there is a dent/hole there

Fridge engineer says:
13 July 2011

sorry meant to say where it makes contact with the light switch

John Screech says:
12 July 2011

After an hour and a half on the phone on 5th.July Beko confirmed that my fridge/freezer was one of the faulty models and a British Gas engineer would call on 18th.July.I told them that was impossible as I would be on holiday.They then told me that the engineer would call on 12th.July between 8am and midday and he would ring me twenty minutes before calling.At great expense to myself I stayed home the whole morning but nobody contacted me.At midday I tried ringing Beko HO. and after a hour hanging on the line I managed to get through to somebody.This person apologised and promised to ring me back but three hours later I have heard nothing.If this is the best service Beko can offer I never wish to see another of their products.

Jane says:
12 July 2011

A week of trying & failing to get through on the phone line and 2 emails sent & I am still waiting for someone to contact me. Too angry to try the phone line again this afternoon! What a complete joke this is!

tippy says:
12 July 2011

If your house has already burnt down like mine did in february is it possible to sue them for all the stress that has been caused to myself,wife,5 kids and a dog which have had a nightmare since this happened,
ive talked to several lawyers but they seem reluctant as none of us were physically burnt

Sandy says:
13 July 2011

After 6 days of trying to get through to Beko I finally got through yesterday and have got to wait 2-3 days for an engineer to call back to arrange an appointment.

Sandy says:
13 July 2011

Tippy I was horrified to read your post. I hope you, your family and poor dog are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.
What makes me mad if this had been in the US, the lawyers would be queuing up to take the case on against Beko, people sue over there for anything and everything, usually over petty things, but here in the UK we have listened and seen some horrifying stories and no one from the legal profession appears to want to help. I hope you do get someone that’s willing to help you all.

I’m very sorry to hear your story. I’ve spoken to one of our consumer lawyers who has given me some general advice but highly recommends you get your own specific legal advice.

If you buy a product that subsequently causes damage to your property then there are two ways you could potentially claim:

1. Against the retailer that sold it to you on the basis that it wasn’t of “satisfactory quality” when it was sold to you – you could potentially claim the cost of replacing the item itself and for the damage it caused.
2. Against the manufacturer under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 – this makes a manufacturer liable where a product causes more than £275 worth of damage – you can claim from the manufacturer for the damage but not for the item itself.

This ability to claim against the manufacturer can be used where the item wasn’t purchased by you (e.g. a defective product in a neighbour’s house causes damage to yours, or the item was a gift). The Consumer Protection Act also enables a claim to be made against the manufacturer for any injury caused. It would be necessary to speak with a personal injury solicitor to see whether compensation could be claimed for the distress the situation has caused.

I hope this helps. Thanks for your post.

Terri says:
12 July 2011

tippy was your fire definately caused by a beko f/f? it could have been something else that caused it, anyway if it was the f/f what year and model was it and also if beko spoke about this problem when they first knew your fire may have been prevented as all the other ones.

Rachael Wright says:
13 July 2011

We bought our fridge/freezer 6 years ago & luckily have had no problems but am disgusted at the way this has been dealt with as it is only the fact my husband happened to catch a report on the radio that we knew we could be at risk & we have a 1yr old & 2 1/2 yr old at home. We eventually got through on Thursday & they are coming round today, a week is a long time to wait with a potential fire hazard on our hands, I also think just a swap out of the part is little compensation for putting our family at risk & am now a little concerned as we have a Beko dishwasher too, is there something going to go wrong with that now, I no longer trust this brand

Brigitta says:
13 July 2011

We were never once contacted by Beko by phone, email or post. We only knew we had an affected appliance after reading an article in The Metro last wednesday. After that i went on to Beko website, which wasn’t working well and discovered we have the model and serial number listed as the affected appliances. so then i called them and was on hold for over 40mins! i eventually got through & confirmed we need a call out,which was only booked in 6 days later for today. Today British gas man came out. much to my horror he told me that our appliance actually had started to “go” and that the insulation had started to melt! He said he had changed a lot of the faulty part for Beko recently for many customers but ours was the first he had seen where it genuinely was a real fire risk!!! So Beko left us sitting on a time bomb – thanks a lot! Very angry with Beko now. Discovering a fault with your appliance is one thing, but then failing to contact customers who own affected appliances is not acceptable! I am not sure i would want to buy a Beko appliance ever again.

Terri says:
13 July 2011

Hi Brigitta, i am so glad to hear u got it sorted, how worrying and to think theres still loads of ppl in the same position not knowing if its gonna go or not but at least now its fixed phew 🙂 anyway i was wondering if u had any clue there was something wrong like did u have anything change in the behaviour of your f/f or was u non the wiser??? only reason im asking is my f/f has started really iceing up on bk wall of fridge and then when in defrost mode starts running down bk of fridge to hole but its alot of water…….just worried about it getting in the switch as im supposed to be unaffected u still cant be tooo sure or safe………..very worrying!! :-S

Brigitta says:
13 July 2011

Hi Terri, honestly we did not notice anything different about our fridge freezer. it was working in exactly the same way as before, no visible signs of anything being wrong with it. As it is pushed back up against a wall in the corner of our kitchen we have no direct view of the back of the fridge. I reckon you should contact Beko as you may well have a different fault with your appliance and hopefully Beko will have bucked up their ideas about customer service otherwise they will really start to suffer with the growing backlash – good luck!

Hi Brigitta. I too had my f/f condemned by an Oncall engineer who refused to replace the defrost timer as the connector was showing signs of burning. Beko/Comet didn’t contact me either! I’m now in a battle with Beko to claim back my losses – freezer and contents. They offered me a replacement f/f – very funny Beko not lost your sence of humour. The advice from Consumer Direct is to also try Comet with regards my losses, under the Sale of Goods Act 1979. I’m sure that, like me, you must feel relieved and very angry. Beko C/S’s actually said to me that “the f/f was faulty before the engineer called”, as if it was my own fault and a get out claus for them!!

Brigitta says:
13 July 2011

Hi Craig! well the British Gas technician who came out to change the faulty part in our f/f said that the insulation had started melting and that it was melting into the potentially faulty part. Sorry, am not too technical about exactly what was going on. he then said he would “crimp” something and replace the faulty part as planned anyway and that this would ensure it working correctly and no risk. He did not say there were signs of burning like you experienced but that there was potential in our f/f for it to be a genuine risk. Thankfully he did not refuse to replace the faulty part. I hope you do get some form of compensation for your loss! I have not heard one good thing said about Beko and how they are handling this.

tippy says:
13 July 2011

Yes it was definately the frifge freezer that burnt the house down,we wern’t even sure what make it was but luckily we found the receipt,
im sorry i cant help anyone with the serial numbers as the insurance companys forensic people have take it away.This all happened in february before the public where made aware of the faults.
Beko keep telling people there is nothing to worry about but i will gladly give them photo’s of what was left of my kitchen so they can share it with people and let them know i feel theres plenty to worry about.
Im glad it happened during the day and not at night as circumstances could have been a lot different.

Patricia jones says:
13 July 2011

Mr fridge engineer,thanks for your reply,yes your right there is a little dent in the door..just got a reply from comet and they will only send a engineer out if I pay,I have told them I consider the fault to be dangerous as it has burnt out the inside casing.
I am VERY disappointed with the after sales service from Beko also Comet.I will never buy a Beko product or deal with Comet again,I am going to contact trading standards also BBC TV show Watchdog..

Terri says:
13 July 2011

Hi patricia, i know what ur going on about the light gets very HOT as i have noticed and it is worrying i dont like to leave my door open for more than 5 mins cos it heats up quickly!. i think this is another fault with the fridges and not just the ones on recall, my f/f is 08 serial no and i have the same prob, i havn’t taken the casing off as too scared at what ill find but judging on how hot bulb gets i can believe it. Beko u need to sort out EVERY f/f as they obviously have overlooked some faults 😕

Brigitta says:
13 July 2011

oh the irony! just 5mins ago our post was delivered. And would you believe it there was a letter from Beko, informing me of a potential problem with Beko fridge freezers. letter says i should check if my f/f is affected and let them know! Talk about late!?!?!

Patricia jones says:
13 July 2011

I had my letter yesterday..

Serena says:
13 July 2011

I called last Thursday night and waited for an hour to speak to an advisor. Finally got through to be told I would be contacted by an engineer within two days. Called again on Monday and queried why I had not heard anything. Told to give it three days. Filled in my details online as well just in case this would speed the process up. Called today as still no word and was told by the adviser that there was no record of my call on the Thursday and my details online had not been processed due to an oversight!! Given a number for complaints to then be put on hold for half an hour. Called the 0800 number back to speak to a manager who said my details had been processed on the Monday and I should hear by Friday. Told him this was not what the previous adviser had told me and he said she must not have opened my file. Pointed out that this means she sat and lied to me for 10 minutes and he stated that she must have got her details wrong?????? He told me to wait until Friday and if I have not heard anything they will lodge a complaint. Told him I wanted to do that now and was told no I would have to wait?? Terribe customer service and the staff are a joke. I have basically been lied to by one of the staff today (by Friday I will know who!!) and in the meantime I am left heavily pregnant with a toddler and a potential fire risk in my home. Thank you Beko!

Beko Hell says:
13 July 2011

I phonee the 0800 number 74 times on 5th July , 42 times on 6th July 22 times on 7th July and finally sucess ..Yes I managed to speak to a person….Yes we have a problem fridge /freezer. A Gas engineer will phone us in the next 24 hours without fail to book a visit. Three days go by no call. Phoned again on 11th July 6 calls and long wait…….Yes they will phone and e-mail engineer again….13th July still no call, phoned 0800 number and head office….they are busy…passed the call on to another company not British Gas should have a call within 48 hours…..What a joke…this company should not be in business. This problem was identified last year …WHY has it taken so long. Does any one know what legal rights we have with Beko considering a life has been lost and countless fires started with this fault unit.

Patricia jones says:
13 July 2011

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14082886 Here is the link to show that Beko first had fires with their fridge freezers as long as 4 years ago. they have fitted the new defrost timer to mine last fri but I have another problem as the bulb casing has burnt and melted,Beo told me to contact Comet and Comet say I will have to pay for their engineer to vist ,what a check ,bad bad service from both Beko and Comet….

Dave says:
13 July 2011

Managed to get through to Beko last week and they arranged for a British Gas Engineer to come out yesterday 12th July between 8am–1pm. No prizes for guessing they never turned up. When I telephoned to complain they had “lost” my details and some one would call me back later that day, again no one rang yesterday or today. Combination of 2 useless companies do not make for good customer service.

Jill says:
14 July 2011

Well the day has come that my Beko is being taken away … sooooo relieved to get this thing out of my house. I found a similar sized Siemens FF rated A++ (costs approx £20 a year to run) at JL. They are also doing £75 cashback for your old appliance and free disposal until the end of July. Well worth a look if you can afford to replace your Beko.

I would say the Beko FF has been reliable over the last 7 years but how the company has handled this problem is a disgrace. I will never buy a Beko product again and make sure none of my family ever does.

Hello all, we have published a new Beko Conversation asking whether you have lost faith in the company since its fridge freezer “recall”. We’ve featured quite a few of your comments, espcially those who have said they are turning their backs on the company.

We’re also meeting Beko next week and will be passing on your questions and concerns to the manufacturer, so please let us know what you want us to tell them in our latest Convo:

http://www.whichconversation.co.uk/energy-home/beko-fridge-freezer-recall-fires-problem-fault-lost-faith/

Thanks.

Mick's Mother says:
14 July 2011

Please look at other manufacturers, this seems to be a problem with fridgefreezers of other manufacturers. My sons kitchen was destroyed by a Samsung model in 2009, firefighters said they had seen others like it, and a websearch showed that the problem waseven then widespread and wellknown. I feel angry that Beeko are alone in the firing line and that it is being treated as a new problem. We were lucky that the house was empty and noone was hurt,but he is still living in a rented flat eighteen months later.Please use your considerable power to throw some light on this so that everyone who owns one, not just a Beeko, is aware that they may be at risk.