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.
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.
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?