/ 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
anjy says:
6 July 2011

I have one of the affected models. I am so worried i couldnt sleep last night as the fridge is in the kitchen directly below my 4 year olds bedroom. Just read one of the previous posts about insuranc not being valid if you know product is faulty !! Help dont know whether to turn it off or not !

Kate says:
6 July 2011

FINALLY i have spoken with someone (who sounded very rushed!!) – I got through on the 01923 818121 number eventually. And after trying all morn – we are told our model is fine! Although they doesnt fill you with much reassurance…..

Curious says:
6 July 2011

@Kate – Can you say WHY your model was fine? Was it one of the models that was not on the Which? / Beko list of affected models? Or was it one of the models on the list, and the customer services operator somehow established that your particular device was unaffected?

Finally – Why aren’t you reassured? You believed Beko when they said there was a fire risk, and now you don’t believe them when they say there isn’t.

Curious…

Kate says:
6 July 2011

@Curious The model number WAS on the affected list but my serial number 0611270911 relates to it being manufactured in November (ending in 11) however models affatected are made Oct and before (if that makes sense!) – I am 80% reassured however she was very rushed on the phone and just would have liked a bit more of an explanation…

Jason Kee says:
6 July 2011

Carole (or anyone else from Which),

Can you advise whether Beko are required to compensate for the value of food lost should the unit be turned off?

Janet Shurety says:
8 July 2011

I don’t know but my fridge freezer which was working perfectly well prior to the modification fitted by a British Gas engineer and now is not working and I now have a pile of rotting food.

Hi all – this is the message on Twitter from the @BekoPlc account (which only seems to have been set up in the last few hours): ‘We’re experiencing heavy traffic on the web-site and phone line so please do bear with us.’ Not very helpful I’m afraid. It’s not responding directly to tweets either.

Curious says:
6 July 2011

Having checked the serial number and model number, my Beko fridge/freezer is an affected model.

Unfortunately, I’ve been trying the 0800 009 4837 and 01923 818121 numbers for the last couple of hours and the former just gives the usual pre-recorded message saying “Thank you for call…” but “…we cannot answer your query at this time.” while the latter has been engaged at every attempt.

Oh dear Beko, monumentally poor handling of a clearly emotive issue.

Annie82 says:
6 July 2011

I’ve finally got through to the 01923 number – and spoke to someone who confirmed my fridge freezer is affected (well I knew that much already) took my details and promised they’d be back in touch today….we’ll see. They should be set up to deal with the whole issue while I’m on the phone. I’ve still not had a response to yesterday’s email.

I asked if there was any safety advice in the meantime and she said “we haven’t been advised”. I’d have been happier if she’s said it’s perfectly safe to continue to run it!

Fat Sam, Glos says:
6 July 2011

Poor handling because I doubt that, like many companies with contact centres, they’ve been able to plan in advance for the demand, which will be unprecedented. So of course it’s going to take longer to get through, derr. If they’d employed thousands of staff on stand-by in a huge call centre just in case an incident arose, then I guess that’s not a particularly efficient way of running a business.

Here’s a tip: if you can, switch the phone to loudspeaker, carry it round with you and just carry on with your normal duties until you hear someone answer. If you haven’t then I’m afraid this is one of those moments where you’re just gonna have to grin and bear it.

This highlights the importance of registering electrical appliances so that YOU can be contacted in the event that things go wrong instead of having to do it the other way round.

Incidentally, the article says the LFB sent out 500,000 letters and Beko 200,000. Several points:
Who funded the fire brigade’s campaign?
Will every household in the country now receive a letter asking them to check their wiring, check their connections, check if curtains are too close to lamps, check where they store their matches, warn them about smoking in bed, etc, because the chances of a fire being caused by one of these is mathematically more likely than one caused by a faulty Beko fridge freezer.

Hi Fat Sam, just to clarify, the LFB did not send out a warning letter to 500,000 fridge freezer owners. There are 500,000 affected models in this country, to which the LFB made a public warning about.

Fat Sam, Glos says:
7 July 2011

Oh, ok, thanks for clarifying. The article does say:

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

So you can see how confuzzled I was.
🙂

Understandable Fat Sam, but we didn’t say ‘by post’ 😉

Curious says:
6 July 2011

@Kate. Thanks. That’s very helpful (especially as I can’t get information from the Beko-shaped horses mouth – if you follow my mangled metaphor). I guess then that my serial number 0610160005 indicates that my unit was manufactured in 2006, but May (rather than yours in November), which means it’s an affected unit. Shame. :¬(

Kate says:
6 July 2011

Most possibly, good luck & fingers crossed you get through (I would definately recommend the 01923 number tho!)

Moi says:
6 July 2011

I understand its a low risk, however its still a risk and i’m not prepared to take any risk when it comes to children

For the new page of comments, only fridge freezers bought between 2000 and 2006 are affected, so if your model’s serial number begins with 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 or 06 you should contact Beko. You can check the serial number of your fridge freezer, found inside the fridge compartment (see the diagram below), to find out which year the appliance was manufactured.

If you’re unsure whether your Beko fridge freezer is affected, as well checking the model numbers on Which.co.uk, you can visit Beko’s website https://refsafety.beko.co.uk/ or call its helpline on 0800 009 4837 between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

Keep calm, the chances of one of the affected models causing a problem are low and Beko has assured us that newer models aren’t affected.

Beko model number diagram

Thanks and good luck.

Dorothy Chadwick says:
6 July 2011

We had a letter from Beko about Fridge Freezers although ours is one of the models the serial number is later, but the very day we received the letter the Auto Timer on ours stuck in the off postition causing everything to defrost but told by Beko we had no comeback and to get an engineer in to check which along with loss of food cost quite a lot of money
,

Lindsay says:
6 July 2011

I do have one of the affected models and have just found out with the fault today after being told by someone who had a letter sent to them ages ago. They were sent a letter but theres wasnt one of the affected ones. I have emailed Beko but have not yet had a reply back. I have also rang the 0800 number and another number and I just get the engaged tone before being cut off. I rang the number for the engineers and they took my model and serial number but then told me I just had to keep trying to get through to Beko.

Dorothy Chadwick says:
6 July 2011

We had a letter from Beko about Fridge Freezers although ours is one of the models the serial number is later, but the very day we received the letter the Auto Timer on ours stuck in the off postition causing everything to defrost but told by Beko we had no comeback and to get an engineer in to check which along with loss of food cost quite a lot of money
,

Bob says:
6 July 2011

My fridge freeze is one of the highlighted batch. My wife has a morbid fear of fire and now the fridge freezer is turned off wasting all our food.
Although the risk is small, how can BEKO expect the public to trust an item that could burst into flames at any point when you’re asleep or out of the house? How can they say there is no need to turn the unit off?
I cannot get through on the phone (the 0800 number on the Which site is wrong – it is just an information message) and the 01923 number is constantly engaged. Their website has crashed but I have had to resort to sending an email as I cannot spend all day on the phone.
Are BEKO going to pay out any additional compensation? Lots of people will have to get more food and also take a day or half day off work for their engineer to come out.

Bob says:
6 July 2011

I finally managed to get through after 50+ calls. All they do is take your details and inform you that an engineer will call back within 24hours. They cannot advise on a time frame for when an appointment might actually occur. In the meantime the freezer will remain unplugged.

Dorothy Chadwick says:
6 July 2011

We received a Letter from Beko on faults with Fridge Freezers and although ours is one of the models the serial number is a later date, but the day before this letter the Auto Time on ours stuck in the off position causing everything to defrost we rang Beko to be told this was our problem and to send for an engineer this along with loss of food cost a lot of money, seems strange it is a problem with timer when this has been the cause of fires

Annie82 says:
6 July 2011

I have an affected model, based on the information on the Beko website. I have trie the phone line with no success – you can’t even get into a queue. I did email them yesterday, but again I’ve had no response. Given the risks involved, it’s pretty poor handling of the situation.

Mel says:
6 July 2011

I have a Beko fridge freezer bought in 2003 from Iceland. The model number inside bears no relation to those listed, but as Beko advise everyone with a freezer bought in that year to contact them, I tried to do so. Their online checker is unusable to anyone without one of the listed model numbers, and their helpline merely refers callers back to the website.

I then called Iceland – who couldn’t confirm whether the model numbers were different for Beko freezers sold through them – but who did say that they themselves had written to some customers to warn them. However, when advised that the year of our freezer was 2003, they explained that they don’t keep records that far back – so presumably haven’t contacted any of their customers with freezers bought before that date, even though the starting date for affected freezers is 2000.

Any suggestions for those of us who bought through suppliers such as Iceland and whose model numbers render the online checker unusable, given the impossibility of getting through on Beko’s “helpline”?

Chris61 says:
6 July 2011

My mum has been experiencing problems getting through on the numbers shown but has finally contacted them very quickly on the service number which is 08456004903. Hope you all get better luck with this number

Lindsay says:
6 July 2011

I rang this number but they just took my model number and serial number and said I had to keep trying Beko.

Angie Warner says:
6 July 2011

I have an affected BEKO model. Finally got through at 4 o’clock today on the 0800 but have to wait for 2 weeks for an engineer to come out. Don’t know whether to turn it off overnight until then, but it could catch fire in the day when I’m at work – i wish the engineer could come out sooner.

lorraine says:
6 July 2011

i have a beko fridge freezer and like everyone else i’m having problems getting through my serial number is one of the affected ones and for ages my fridge freezer has had to be knocked off while it resets itself after putting food in as it’s the one where the light flashes and alarm goes off so there has been a problem for ages.i always have it on the econ. button set on level 5 and it always when fresh foods put in goes up to level 9 and the alarm goes off so i’ve had to knock it off and leave it then knock it back on to sort itself please can someone help and advise me what to do i have smoke alarms but id rather get this sorted are we supposed to take them where we bought them? or what they are getting on a bit but you can’t go out and buy big things like this willy nilly are we going to get compensated or what? i would be happy with some positive information thankyou.

lorraine says:
6 July 2011

my serial number is 0110687112 please can anyone out there let me know if it’s an affected model

ray911 says:
6 July 2011

Just e-mailed BEKO
and told them what a farce it is trying to get through to customer support. Told them i’m not bothering anymore been and bought Samsung being delivered tomorrow and there product will be on scrapheap. Not risking a fire in my house advise you get rid and get another make will do not BEKO.

I have one of the Beko fridge freezers on the list, and I’m waiting for a responce from Beko following an email I sent yesterday. Has anyone thought about the implications of insurance cover? I knowingly have a suspect freezer in my kitchen which has the potential to catch fire – WHAT IF IT DOES!! Am I going to be covered?

ray911 says:
6 July 2011

Not sure insurance would pay out seeing as you know there is a problem with this appliance. Would be very interesting anyone making a claim tho. Hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else again. Not taking the risk mines going tomorrow and new Samsung being delivered hope these are ok but can we ever be sure of anything now. Trouble is you cant switch them of and wait to be repaired as with most electrical goods.

Bob says:
6 July 2011

My wife works in insurance and the general consensus is it’ll be down to the individual insurer. Some won’t pay out when you have continued to use an appliance that you know may have a fault.
Again – how can beko advise not to turn the unit off?
We’re struggling to make ends meet at the moment so the loss of a fridge freezer’s worth of food is a big hit to take but preferable to the other consequence – no matter how unlikely. Surely BEKO must expect to have to pay some compensation out?