/ Home & Energy

Update: will the government take action on Whirlpool?

London Fire Brigade

In January, we launched our campaign to challenge Whirlpool over its fire-risk dryers. And the response we’ve had has been overwhelming – over 75,000 people have already pledged their support. Now a parliamentary petition calling for a recall of Whirlpool dryers has hit 100,000 signatures. So what now?

We’ve been talking about this safety issue for months now, monitoring its progress and listening to your experiences. Here on Which? Conversation many of you have shared your concerns – some of you being affected owners and others discussing the wider safety issues.

And it’s clear that nearly all of you share our concerns and that this has dragged on for far too long.

Getting action from government

Whirlpool has been aware of the problem for at least 15 months now. Yet many customers with affected Hotpoint, Indesit, Proline, Swan and Creda branded tumble dryers are still waiting for their machine to be repaired.

We think it’s time to push this up the government’s agenda. The government isn’t doing enough to tackle the problems with the product safety system, with Whirlpool’s handling of its fire-risk dryers being just one example of this.

We need the government to take this issue more seriously, and to do that we want MPs to be given the opportunity to press the government in Parliament.

To make this happen we’re backing the parliamentary petition calling on the government to take action on Whirlpool – but we need your help.

If we can get this petition to 100,000 signatures before May 2017, it will be considered for a debate in Parliament. But we need you, your friends, your family and your colleagues to help get this debate secured and push this safety issue higher up the government’s agenda.

Time is running out

The fact is that fire-risk dryers are still in people’s homes, and the modification programme isn’t delivering solutions fast enough.

Last month, we spoke to Sharna, whose mum owned an affected Indesit dryer. For Sharna and her family the opportunity for a repair came too late. In October 2016, a London Fire Brigade investigation found that a fire at a Shepherds Bush tower block, where Sharna lived, was caused by a faulty Indesit dryer.

That dryer was awaiting inspection as part of Whirlpool’s modification programme. Their home and their belongings were destroyed and they are still unable to return home today.

It’s high-time the government steps up for safety’s sake.

Update: 28 February 2017

Today the government has posted its response to the petition calling for a recall of Whirlpool-branded fire-risk dryers.

This response has been expected since the petition passed the minimum threshold of 10,000 signatures, which was a little over two weeks ago. If we can get this petition to 100,000 signatures by 1 May 2017, then it must be considered for a debate in Parliament – at the time of publishing the petition stands at 57,374.

The government has stated that when it comes to product safety it thinks consumers should ‘reasonably expect clear advice on how to safely use products in their home, and prompt and effective action should be taken if a safety issue is identified’.

The government notes that despite the 1.5 million affected registered dryers there are still many unregistered and unmodified dangerous dryers in the UK.

The response also highlights that Margot James, the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, has called on Whirlpool to progress with its repair programme and improve communications with consumers. The Minister has expressed concerns about reaching consumers with affected machines who’ve not yet registered for a repair or replacement.

But, we believe it’s time a full recall was issued.

If you own a Hotpoint, Indesit, Proline, Swan or Creda tumble dryer which you purchased before October 2015 then your dryer could be affected by this safety warning.

Last week we reported that the safety advice for affected dryers has now been revised. Those with affected dryers need to unplug the dryer and stop using the machine until it has been modified.

Check to see if your dryer is affected and find out what your rights are here.

Update: 24 April 2017

Today, the parliamentary petition calling for a full recall of all Whirlpool UK fire-risk dryers reached 100,000 signatures. Before the General Election was called, the petition had to pass this required threshold by 30th April to be considered for a debate in Parliament.

Alex Neill, our Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said:

‘This huge level of public support is a powerful indication that Whirlpool needs to be held to account for its completely inadequate handling of the tumble dryer safety issue.

‘There are still millions of potentially life threatening machines in people’s homes. The next government must act swiftly to force a full product recall of all affected machines to prevent further risk to the safety of consumers and their homes.’

As a General Election has been called and Parliament will dissolve next week, we’ll be picking up with MPs following the election on pressing for this petition to be considered for a debate.

The support for both the parliamentary petition and our own campaign to force action on fire-risk dryers sends a clear message that Whirlpool needs to act in the best interest of consumers and fully recall these potentially dangerous dryers.

Sadly, the battle doesn’t end here – we’ll be continuing to call for a full product recall of these dangerous dryers.

Is it fair that people are still waiting for their fire-risk tumble dryer to be sorted? Do you expect the government to take action on this safety issue?

Comments
Profile photo of PatrickTaylor
Member

“Registration Portal
In light of the lack of a portal that allows owners to register any appliance the WTA took the view that there was a requirement for such a facility but, pushed the innovation yet further.

The portal also allows owners to register an account and to manage their products, adding, deleting or amending them as required through time.

Any member of the public can use the portal to store details and, in the event of any safety issue or recall, the WTA can notify registered owners.

The same portal also stores details of owners products that are gathered through home visits or indeed sales of new products by anyone, not just WTA members.”

Seems something worth supporting. Not perfect but a start and if used creatively you could add your aged parents stuff to your own for up-dates etc.

Profile photo of PatrickTaylor
Member

” Created: Wednesday, 19 April 2017 10:36
Hits: 65
The inquest into the death of two men due to a defective tumble dryer resulting in a fire in October 2014 is to begin today.

Inquest into deaths alleged to be caused by a Hotpoint tumble dryer begins We have reported on this tragic incident previously involving a Hotpoint TVM range tumble dryer ..”

In the US hthey have the Consumerist as a emailed mag for Consumer Reports. I think it a very useful adjunct for subscribers.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

The problem with any system that requires the owner to choose to register is, as now, many will not. The simple solution surely is for the compulsory registration to take place at the time of every sale by the vendor.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Patrick – Could you please tell us what and where is WTA? Thanks.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Possibly the white goods trade association?

Profile photo of Ian
Member

“What The Acronym”? 🙂

Profile photo of lessismore
Member

It has worried me for quite some time that there are many elderly who are cared for by visiting carers. It can be hard enough to get this ever-changing – in our experience – group of workers to co-ordinate putting washing in a machine and taking it out. Emptying a fluff filter just won’t be on their agenda at all. They rush in and they rush out.

An elderly friend did have a fire in her tumble dryer but that was before we were aware that there were so many faulty and potentially dangerous machines out there.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Good point, lessismore. If it wasn’t so overstretched, the home care service would be a good way of making sure that all the elderly and housebound people with defective tumble dryers are registered with Whirlpool and receive priority attention.