/ Home & Energy

Update: will the government take action on Whirlpool?

fire risk dryer

In January, we launched our campaign to challenge Whirlpool over its fire-risk dryers. And the response has been overwhelming with a parliamentary petition calling for a recall of Whirlpool dryers hitting 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

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

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.

Update: 6 September 2017

A Hotpoint dryer has been blamed as the likely case of flat fire. Denbighshire coroner’s court has concluded that a Hotpoint tumble dryer was the most likely cause of a flat fire which sadly killed two men in Llanrwst in October 2014.

A survivor of the flat fire, Gary Lloyd Jones, told the hearing that on the night of the fire he saw flames coming from the tumble dryer.

The Assistant Coroner found that the fire was likely caused by an electrical fault inside the door of the dryer. The Assistant Coroner, David Lewis, also expressed concerns about the evidence gathered by Whirlpool, the owners of the Hotpoint brand, and dismissed one potential cause proposed by a Whirlpool expert as ‘fanciful’ and ‘unlikely’.

Though we do not yet know the model number of the Hotpoint tumble dryer, we do know that it is one of the dryers affected by the safety notice issued earlier this year following our application for judicial review.

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

‘In the face of the tragic deaths of these two men, Whirlpool can no longer continue to ignore its responsibility for the safety of its customers and must now conduct a full product recall of the potentially lethal tumble dryers in people’s homes across the country.

‘This tragic case shows once again that the product safety system is broken and is potentially putting lives at risk. The government must create a national body that can get unsafe products out of people’s homes.’

We are writing to the coroner to request that he produces a ‘Preventing Future Deaths’ report. This kind of report is produced following an inquest when there is a risk of future deaths happening in a similar way.

We will also be contacting the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to call for a full-product recall of the Hotpoint dryer at the centre of this tragedy.

The government has been too slow to respond to serious incidents – and subsequent reviews – following product-related fires. We want to see urgent changes to the UK’s product safety regime, including the creation of a new national body designed to take control of dangerous situations as they arise and get products out of people’s homes quickly.

Update: 15 September 2017

Disappointingly, Parliament’s Petitions Committee has decided not to debate the petition calling on the government to urge Whirlpool UK to recall all faulty tumble dryers.

Thousands of our campaign supporters signed Andy Slaughter MP’s e-petition in order to force the government to review these dangerous fire-risk dryers. Thank you to those of you who added your name to this petition.

The decision not to go ahead with the debate came despite this e-petition gaining over 100,000 signatures from members of the public.

When deciding which petitions should be debated, the Committee looks at whether the subject has recently been debated in Parliament. In September 2016 there was a debate on faulty fire-risk tumble dryers, the Committee considers this debate to have been sufficient.

We’re disappointed, but this isn’t where our efforts for action on faulty fire-risk dryers will end.

We’re going to continue pressing the government to urgently fix the UK’s broken product safety system, which currently poses grave risks to consumers. We’re calling on the government to take urgent action to put consumers first and to create a new national body to lead on product safety, as well as a genuine ‘one-stop-shop’ to provide authoritative information and advice when dangerous products are identified or recalls are required.

Update: 30 November 2017

Following the inquest into the fire which killed two men in Llanrwst, coroner David Lewis has published a prevention of future deaths report.

In the report, the coroner has raised concerns witnesses called by lawyers for Whirlpool during the hearing had been ‘defensive and dismissive’.

Commenting on the evidence given, Mr Lewis explained:

‘The door switch assembly of interest in this case is used in literally hundreds of thousands of appliances manufactured by Whirlpool.

He added:

‘I did not emerge from the hearing confident that Whirlpool’s risk assessment processes have fully identified or appreciated the extent of the risk of fire (and its potential consequences).’

Whirlpool now has 56 days to respond to the report. In its response, it must explain details of action taken or proposed to action to take, or explain why it will take no action at all.

Our managing director of home products and services, Alex Neill, said:

‘The Coroner’s report exposes the fundamental failings of Whirlpool’s handling of unsafe products. The Government should urgently investigate if this is a breach of the company’s obligations under product safety law and immediately enforce a full product recall of all remaining fire risk tumble dryers in people’s home.

‘This case is further evidence that the UK’s product safety regime is simply not fit-for-purpose and must be reformed, with the creation of a new national body to lead on issues of this nature.’

Do you expect the government to take action on this safety issue?

Comments

I very much support Which? in pushing for action over the tumble dryers that have been identified by Whirlpool as being a fire risk and requiring modification.

The next priority is to look at the fire risk associated with ALL tumble dryers and other appliances. According to Which?, washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers present the greatest danger: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2015/06/which-reveals-the-home-appliances-most-likely-to-catch-fire-406053/

I am not surprised that electrical appliances are a fire risk because it has become common to use plastics that burn or melt as part of the casing. I have tested samples from the casing of my Bosch dishwasher, Hotpoint fridge and freezer and Miele washing machine and all have plastic that burns rapidly producing considerable smoke. It is not difficult to find photos of appliances where plastics have burned or melted, allowing fire to spread. I have posted several examples in other Conversations and here is another:

?zoom=2&resize=800%2C1422

Credit: The Lincolnite

It is very difficult to avoid the small risk of fire in household appliances, but use of an all-metal casing (or other fire-resistant material) would prevent fires from spreading. British and International standards are intended to ensure that products are safe but it is clear that the standards are INADEQUATE because there is currently no requirement to contain fire and prevent it from setting light to kitchens or utility rooms.

I am extremely disappointed that there is no requirement for British Standards to be made readily available to the public. It is very expensive to obtain a copy of documents that specify requirements that relate to public safety.

Standards are extremely valuable but they need to be adequate and the documents publicly available.

I hire a washer/dryer which had to be replaced as it was worn out! it was replaced by a Hotpoint washer/dryer. Great I thought, the dryer overheated and the washing was wetter at the end of the cycle. I received another washer/dryer and the same thing happened. I now am just using the washer and am due to receive another washer/dryer on the lst March, 2017. Because Indesit is the parent company of both Whirlpool and Hotpoint, my feeling is that because they probably use similar components in all the washing machines, maybe in an attempt to cool down the dryer and let in more cold water than the design was meant to but unfortunately it transpired that there wasn’t a sufficient facility to pump the water out again. I did learn from Hotpoint that there was a faulty valve on this model WDL 520 7g. If they knew then why are they still hiring them out. I hire mine from Box Clever which is a responsible company. Several customers complained but clearly someone knew!! It shouldn’t need further legislation as we have the Sales of Goods Act which should and could be used!

“I am extremely disappointed that there is no requirement for British Standards to be made readily available to the public. It is very expensive to obtain a copy of documents that specify requirements that relate to public safety.”

In my experience both BSI and ISO operate a commercial entities, funding their activities via the sale of their standards. Their standards are freely available (in the sense of “free speech” and a free press) but sadly not in the sense of free beer.

Hence members of the public can either buy copies or borrow them from libraries.

Also, under UK Health & Safety law, manufacturers and retailers (and their employees) all have duties in respect of the effect of their activities on public safety.

Consumers are actually paying for production and updating of standards because companies pass on their costs to us in the costs of products and services. Relatively few public libraries subscribe to online access to British Standards and it is not permissible to copy more than 10% of a document. I have no idea if printed documents are available in libraries but reference documents are not available for loan in public libraries. Standards can be purchased but the costs are out of reach of most people, given that they should be read in conjunction with various other standards.

If I want to read the contents of the Consumer Rights Act, or study the regulations applying to telecommunications or energy supply I can look them up and obtain a copy for no charge.

At one time scientific papers were only available to individuals and institutions that subscribed to the journals, much in the same way that standards are currently available. Thanks to a different funding scheme (essentially the costs of peer review and publishing are paid for by the authors) everyone has free access to articles online. The publishers still get paid and this ‘open access’ publishing is becoming more popular because those who publish their work want it to be read by as many people as possible. I have suggested that publication of standards could be funded by the companies required to comply with them, and we can all benefit from online access to documents that directly affect public safety.

The fact that fire can spread from appliances rather than being contained demonstrates to me that the current standards are either inadequate or there is a compliance issue.

I keep repeating that fire containment is being looked at by the national and international standards authorities. Non-experts are not always right in their solutions to problems. I’d rely on those who are knowledgeable to look at all the evidence and make a considered decision – including the fire services who are represented.

There are ways of accessing standards for free. I would like Which? to look at getting access for nominated members. I would like all libraries to provide online access – but they have other more pressing uses for council tax perhaps.

The ISO, IEC, and national bodies can only operate because they receive income from the sale of standards – whether paper or online. That money to support standards work would have to be found from somewhere else if they were “free”. Taxation? No – I think those who need standards should pay for them. This includes many public bodIes, educational establishments and other non-profit organisations.

I have repeatedly explained how scientific publishing is moving to open access systems. I remember well when companies – the publishers – said that this could not and would not happen. The academic community thought different and progress has been made. I’m not aware of any companies going bust as a result. We might yet lose some of the publishers that have stuck with requiring institutions and individuals to pay for access.

There is no need for libraries to pay a penny if we change how the production and maintenance of standards is funded differently.

Once again, the funding of production and updating of standards can be provided by levying appropriate charges on the companies and organisations required to use particular standards. I don’t want to be deprived of access to standards just because we are living in the past.

Based on my own recent experience with ISO and BSI standards, both my employer (and me) are already paying a substantial parts of the costs of updating the standards. We get no funding from either BSI or ISO for the time we spend commenting on circulated draft standards (not all of which takes place in core time).

If we had to actually pay BSI or ISO so that we could comment or contribute to those drafts, that might give those organisations funding to cover publication costs. However a more likely outcome would be us ruling out any non-essential standards as “not applicable” to our business. For example, we might decide to support only ANSI and not ISO and BSI as well.

Where regulations require compliance with standards, then one way forward would be for the regulators to make the relevant standards freely available. This already happens with documents produced by HSE and other regulators.

You know more than me, Derek. I had assumed that a particular product had to comply with all applicable standards. I am convinced that it is valuable to have information relevant to our health and safety readily available to all. There are plenty of young retired people with time on their hands who could use their expertise to help improve standards.

“help improve standards”. There are opportunities to do this with the standard organisations. If you have the appropriate expertise, join a committee through a represented organisation. You can also contribute as an individual direct to the national organisation – BSI.

I keep hoping that Which?, with its knowledge andreports on product testing, consumer feedback etc. would play a leading role on the appropriate BSI committees helping shape the relevant international standards. which? could establish a group of suitably qualified, informed and interested Members to help it in this work.

Products for sale in the EU must conform to the European standards (generally Euro norms). These may share information from other national standards but will be specific to the region where necessary.

Instead of using a dryer, here is a revolutionary suggestion: why use a dryer at all? Dryers ruin your clothes, especially woollens. Sunlight is an antiseptic and a much healthier way to dry clothes. I have never used a dryer except at a launderette. My late-mother-in-law used a dryer and she lived in New Mexico! My husband was astonished that I was drying clothes in the open air and being an accountant calculated that I saved us around US$300 a year that way! Even back in England, I would not dream of using a dryer at home.

A lovely day today. Mrs r made use of solar power and wind energy to dry clothes for free on our clothes line. Indoors, if the weather is inclement, a traditional clothes horse does a decent, if slow, job.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Thank you Duncan. It is easy to check if flammable plastic has been used in the construction of an appliance. Just cut a small sliver, hold it with pliers and set light to it. Do this outside and please be careful. It may be easiest to take a piece of plastic from the plastic surrounding the lop of an appliance.

There are specific tests given in International Standards to test for flammability of non-metallic materials.

Incidentally, the picture above shows distorted plastic. If it were flammable it would have totally burned away. That does not appear to have happened from the evidence?

The plastic fascia and plastic around the lid have been damaged by fire, allowing the fire to spread to surrounding flammable materials such as kitchen units. This model also has louvres in the back panel. The dryer may have an open base, as many do, allowing oxygen to enter and fuel the fire. There are plenty of examples online showing appliances where the plastic parts of the case have burned or melted, leaving the steel case intact. I have no problem with tests carried out under standard conditions but it is also necessary for those responsible for our safety to use a bit of common sense and see what is obvious.

Sorry – I thought you were talking about burning plastic. It has deformed. Tests on plastics often relate to the way they behave when exposed to a heat source, and their ability to not sustain burning.

Kenneth Watt has contributed as someone intimately involved professionally with domestic appliances in previous conversations. His views on the way plastics are used and the way appliances are constructed are valuable. There is an Underwriters’ Laboratory report on fire containment that I have linked to elsewhere and also passed to BSI – who, like the IEC, I am sure already have that and other appropriate research work in front of them. UL are represented on the IEC. These experts will be looking at safety in the round. Talking about it here is instructive but a waste of time unless the talk is acted upon, by making those who can act aware of valuable information and constructive suggestions.

Which? should, in my view, be one of those organisations actively involved with BSI to represent consumers views and concerns, and to discuss information gleaned from their own testing. I hope they are now, or soon will be.

Error.

Just a point of clarification on the Intro. In the third paragraph Jen refers to “Whirlpool branded fire-risk dryers”. So far as I can remember, none of the reports of fires in our many Conversations on this topic have related to Whirlpool-branded products. They have generally referred to the products made by Indesit under various brand names as stated in paragraph four, namely Hotpoint, Indesit, Proline, Swan and Creda. When Whirlpool acquired Indesit it also bought their brands but I did not think Whirlpool machines were also made by Indesit. For the avoidance of confusion it is probably best to refer to the tumble dryers which are the subject of this campaign as Indesit [etc] machines now the responsibility of Whirlpool.

Simply referring to Whirlpool does at least draw attention to the company that is currently responsible for the problem dryers. It is easy for consumers to establish if they have a model requiring attention and there is, indeed, no reference to any model sold as a ‘Whirlpool’ dryer.

Quite right – no Whirlpool branded machines are implicated in this action. I agree we need to keep the Whirlpool corporation at the forefront as they are responsible for dealing with the problem they have acquired.

“We’ve been talking about this safety issue for almost 15 months now, ” – and that’s more or less all you’ve done. While you just talk, everyone else waits.

Suggestions have been made about
– redress for owners,
– requests to test duff machines to see why they are a risk
– requests to check whether machines comply fully with Europe-wide and international safety standards
– requests to pass members and contributors suggestions on to those who keep standards imptoving
– requests to explain why the law – Sale of Goods Act – that requires unsafe products to be repaired, replaced or refunded without unreasonable inconvenience

all without any response. Talking gets you nowhere. We’ve now had this problem for 17 months. We should be taking positive action against Whirlpool. Why not?

In the absence of any action from Which? I have contacted BSI, passed them some appropriate information, and had a response that this has been passed to the relevant committee. They have an active working group currently looking at appliance fires. Anyone can contact BSI – the committee relevant in this case is CPL/61 – with their constructive suggestions or comments. What’s stopping you?

Ad hoc “tests” are not appropriate. Standards lay down strict, scientifically supported, test procedures to ensure relevance, consistency, and appropriate interpretation between laboratories. This includes plastics. Standards organisations are already aware of possible fire-containment and are looking at that as experts.

Talking endlessly about this will be of no help to those stuck with potentially unsafe machines. Do something positive and you can both help them, and help the standards authorities improve safety.

nicola says:
11 February 2017

I had asked for my dryer to be fixed and with in the same week,
it was taken a part and fitted a new back plate. had no problem of over heating sins.
works better than befor we had it repaired

Lucky you, Nicola. We have been waiting 13 months, and all we have had is promises that an engineer will be coming soon !

roger says:
11 February 2017

need more to sign up to get job done

I have an affected dryer and have been waiting over a year for modification to make it safe. The initial estimate was almost a year from notification to modification but Hotpoint/Whirlpool have failed even to meet this ridiculously long lead time. To ask customers not to use at night or when out is unacceptable as that’s what it was bought for, paying for specific features to enable unattended use! Absolutely disgusted with the service and pathetic effort being made by the company to rectify this serious safety issue. I don’t want to pay them for a discounted replacement; I want a full refund to take my business elsewhere. They should recall all affected products and put an end to this saga before their reputation is irreversibly tarnished. Wholeheartedly support any action to bring them to book. Please sign up to the petition; make your voice heard and let’s face it, what harm can it do?!

About 30 years ago, I bought an Indesit Tumble dryer. After a couple of years, the driving belt broke, So I took it apart and fitted a new one, which was not an easy task, as it required almost completely dissembling it. In discovered that, despite cleaning the filter after every use, there was fluff in almost every crevice in the machine, some of it badly scorched. Thereafter, I took the machine apart every year of so to remove the fluff.
The machine was still working after 20 years, when I dumped it because I was moving.

Non- condensing, vented dryers are a fire waiting to happen, whoever makes them! They consist of nothing more than a drum, a fan, a motor and an unguarded electric element. To save energy, some of the air is recirculated, so fluff from the clothes, which escapes the filter, goes over the electric element.
My old machine had a steel casing so may have contained a fire. Nevertheless, these machines are very expensive to run and should be labelled “Don’t Buys”. They are however cheap.

Tumble dryers with a heat pump, pass dry air over the clothes, and then condense the return air to remove the water and reheat it in the other side of the tiny refrigeration plant. The air doesn’t touch any really hot surfaces, and so is unlikely to cause a fire. Dust and fluff still escape the filter. So the machine needs a thorough clean now and again to maintain efficiency. The machine I have now is a Bosch and provision is made to get at the places, where dust collects more easily.

I agree that heat-pump dryers are the sensible option to minimise the risk of a fire. They cost more and take longer to dry but I would not want a vented or condenser dryer in my home.

Your old dryer would be well on the way to being able to contain a fire, though it might have needed a metal plate added to the open base.

Here is some information about fires in domestic appliances: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2015/06/which-reveals-the-home-appliances-most-likely-to-catch-fire-406053/

You don’t need a more expensive heat pump dryer if they use lower-temperature heating elements in conventional dryers. However, as has been pointed out many times, the chances of a fire are very very low. It would be useful to be told why the affected Indesit dryers are regarded as unsafe.

Heat-pump dryers are readily available whereas I am not aware of any ones with low temperature heating elements. Maybe that could happen in the future.

Those who have had a fire in their home might not be comforted by the ‘very very low’ incidence of fires. We need solutions that will help people now.

It is a suggestion that perhaps, if Which? engage with BSI, could be considered. You’d have to wait longer for your clothes to dry.

Nothing will ever be made completely safe, so a very very low incidence of fires through fault, neglect, misuse or any reason has to be expected. Just as planes occasionally crash.

fire breaking out in dryers is not acceptable. I have been in a fire and only just escaped with burning hair and no eyebrows. It took several months to get back in our house.

Sorry to hear about your narrow escape, Susan. Was your fire caused by a tumble dryer and if so, was it one of the ones that was due for modification?

The damage caused to ANY PROPERTY whatsoever be the responsibility of these faulty machine manufacturers as they are a known and now well documented FIRE HAZARD.
There are also extremely dangerous toxic gases given off hot or burning plastics which may be inhaled by the occupants in or near the affected property, this should also be the responsibility of these murderous manufacturers.
ANY deaths should result in charges of corporate murder at ALL levels, due to the time this is taking to rectify.

The GOVERNMENT should stop the use of these products and force the manufacturers to withdraw ALL their products from sale, until these dangerous units are replaced.

The have a duty of care to everybody who purchases and uses any of their products and the GOVERNMENT has a duty to ensure ALL HEALTH and SAFETY rules and duty of care is upheld.

I wonder what make this tumble drier was…..
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-38989932

James C says:
22 February 2017

I originally checked my model number against a list of faulty dryers published some time ago and was relieved to find it was not one of those affected. Neither have we been contacted by Whirlpool, even though they know we have it as we bought it directly from their site in Peterborough. Very surprised when I went on the ‘new’ online checker today and entered the serial number to find my machine IS now one of those affected! How many more people think they have a safe machine from previous check only it turns out they have a dangerous machine after all?

Al this technical arguing is, in my humble opinion, somewhat missing the point, which simply put is this — Whirlpool are responsible for selling machines that are fit for purpose and in this they have CLEARLY failed, yet the Government and their Agents i.e. Peterborough Trading Standards Authority are clearly in breach of their duty to Public Safety.
They should all be taken to Court and if found guilty, individuals should be banged up, just like you or I would be if we set fire to peoples homes. Whether by design or negligence it makes little difference if you pay for something to dry your clothes safely and instead it catches fire!!

Whirlpool did not sell these machines – they were sold before Whirlpool took over Indesit who manufactured them. Where Whirpool failed is in not dealing with an inherited problem properly (to say the least!). Peterborough Trading Standards failed in not requiring a proper and reasonable plan for affected customers, and where Which? failed was an inability to do anything on behalf of consumers and in giving advice they have now reversed.

A sorry tale all round, and for Which? to claim a WIN! ? Who has won? Not the consumer whom they claim to represent.

Some of the machines were sold after Whirlpool took over Indesit. If I buy a secondhand car it is my responsibility to make sure that it is safe to use. Likewise, a company should take responsibility for products that have been sold by companies it purchases. If Whirlpool had behaved responsibly and in a timely fashion we would not be having this discussion.

No one is disputing Whirlpool’s responsibility (are they?). The issue is how they have dealt with the problem, and how poor and ineffective have been the actions of those supposed to represent consumers’ interests.

Almost from the outset I proposed that as the unsafe (admitted) feature of specified dryers was covered by the Sale of Goods Act, this should be used by consumers to get redress without unreasonable inconvenience. This was rebuffed by Which?. Now they say:
“Our advice is to go straight to Whirlpool to demand your machine is fixed but also try speaking to the retailer you bought it from for a replacement.”
Read more: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2017/02/dont-use-your-fire-risk-tumble-dryer/ – Which?

Perhaps if Which? had pointed to SoGA at the outset and urged all consumers, with a template letter from Which?, to pursue their legal rights, backed by a Which? campaign, we might not be where we are now.

That might have been a WIN!.

Jan Tibbles says:
22 February 2017

Bizarrely I find myself unsure on how to comment. When this problem was first aired (and I really can’t remember when) my tumble drier was less than 12 months old and I was only alerted to the problem by my niece, who lives in Lincoln. I contacted ‘Whirlpool’ , was given a date and provisional time and waited for the service engineer to appear. He didn’t put in an appearance, so I contacted the company again, obviously less than pleased by a total waste of my time, and was given another date. They phoned, arrived on said date, and replaced the tumble drier ! Was I just very, very fortunate? Or was it the fact that my original drier was less than 12 months old that prompted the speedy action?
Despite such speedy service I’m very wary when using the drier based on all of the awful situations that I’ve read about, and would never, ever leave the drier running and leave our home. This was never something to be considered before and certainly all of the bad press makes you very wary. So very sorry for all of the families with small children and mega amounts of laundry to dry. This needs addressing and resolving ASAP.

I had one of these driers and was no problem.Reported that I had one of these alleged faulty machines which never gave me a problem.Within two weeks I was told that I was in a queue for repair or I could buy a new replacement drier for £57 which I did.No problem

Nancy Stokes says:
23 February 2017

I find it incomprehensible that a company that knows it has sold a dangerous product needs to be told by the government to do something about it but if this is the case take it to the government. I won’t be buying any products from the companies.

Today Which? is urging me to support Andy Slaughter’s petition – from last November – “We’re backing Andy Slaughter MP’s petition in order to secure a debate in Parliament on this issue.” Essentially, the petition says “We are concerned that manufacturers Whirlpool UK have failed to recall the faulty dryers, of which there are around 5 million in Britain, and have not changed their safety advice to consumers, despite the London Fire Brigade advising consumers to stop using the machines with immediate effect.”

The advice has now been changed. However, he does not say how a “recall” might work given that there are (Kenneth Watt estimates) 2,4 million users who have not responded, despite all the publicity, and whose contact details are presumably unknown.

Until we have a proper appliance registration system – and I suggest it be compulsory to register your essential contact details with the retailer at time of purchase – I don’t see how recalls just through publicity can be effective. Now, if Andy Slaughter proposed a practical recall system for appliances, and campaigned for that, I might see some point in signing a petition.

JOSEPH WADDINGTON says:
23 February 2017

I own one and have tried for months phone (always busy, even picked up then put down without reply) looked for model number could not find mine? sent emails same result, no replies .

Hello Joseph, the safety warning affects certain lines of Whirlpool owned dryers that were manufactured before October 2015. It may be that your dryer isn’t affected, but you can double check this by taking a look at the models we list here http://www.which.co.uk/whirlpool

If you have a Hotpoint or Indesit machine you can check your machine by going to https://safety.hotpoint.eu and https://safety.indesit.eu websites.