If a car is recalled for safety reasons, owners can be traced through the DVLA. But what if your washing machine or tumble dryer is at risk of catching fire? How can you find out?
Our investigation has found that even when a manufacturer recalls a potentially dangerous product, the majority can remain unfixed, partly because it’s so hard to find owners.
If a product turns out to be unsafe, manufacturers must take steps to remove the risk to customers. If it’s dangerous, they must issue a safety notice to alert owners. But what if they don’t know who the owners are?
Manufacturers of home appliances can only get hold of you if you’ve actively registered your details with them. And how many of us do that?
Just one in three, says accident prevention charity, Electrical Safety First (ESF). This means that unless the recall hits the headlines and you see the story, you may be sharing your home with an appliance that could cause a fire.
Why don’t more people register their appliances?
Most of us don’t think that registering a product is to do with safety – 70% of us would be more likely to register if we knew it was for this reason, ESF found.
61% would be more likely to if we weren’t going to end up on a marketing list. So it’s maddening that some manufacturers seem to be using the only central registration scheme – set up by trade body, the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) – as an opportunity for marketing.
We think marketing options for a free safety scheme like this should be clear and ‘opt-in’ – where you actively choose to receive messages by ticking a box.
But six out of 10 manufacturers we registered an appliance with require you to ‘opt out’. Two of these, Hoover and Indesit, tried to persuade us to sign up for extended warranties.
They told us a debate around ‘opt-in’ and ‘opt-out’ is not important, and their focus is on encouraging people to register products.
Which appliances are most at risk of catching fire
That number’s low compared with the number of appliances we own, but the consequences can be devastating for those affected.
That’s why we think the AMDEA website for registering your appliance is a great idea. It’s backed by the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and we’d urge anyone who hasn’t already their details with the manufacturers of their appliances to use it.
But watch out for marketing traps when signing up – manufacturers shouldn’t take advantage of those who want to protect their homes and families.
Have you registered your appliances? If not, why not? And what do you think of the recall system?