/ Home & Energy

Update: it’s unacceptable that Whirlpool is still failing consumers

burnt tumble dryer

Our investigation shows that, one year on from announcing that some of its tumble dryers were at risk of catching fire, Whirlpool is still failing millions of affected UK customers.

Slow and poor service

In April this year, we investigated the Whirlpool tumble dryer safety issue, surveying 820 affected customers and conducting 30 mystery calls to the Whirlpool call centre posing as customers with affected machines. At that time, we found multiple failings in how Whirlpool was handling its customers.

In November, we carried out a second investigation. We contacted those surveyed in April again, as well as nearly 500 additional affected customers who had not previously been polled.

We found those with fire-risk dryers are still being forced to wait far too long, with one in five (22%) customers surveyed in April still waiting for their machine to be repaired or replaced.

A third (33%) of those who had since had their dryer repaired or replaced said they were dissatisfied with how the manufacturer had handled the situation.

One quarter (26%) of affected customers were told they would have to wait longer than six months for their tumble dryer to be repaired.

Marlon says: ‘I was contacted by email last winter informing me that it would be done in March. March came and went then another email with June as the modification month. No contact in June. Another email in August asking if I would like another tumble dryer, at a reduced price, instead of waiting for the modification to take place. After looking at the reviews of the models offered on Which, I decided I would not take up the new machine offer. So now I wait, a year on.’

One in five (22%) were told that the wait would be between three and six months.

We found widespread concern among customers, with six in ten (62%) of those we surveyed for the first time in November 2016 worried about using their tumble dryer, despite Whirlpool’s advice to continue to do so.

Potentially dangerous advice

In addition to being forced to wait far too long, we found Whirlpool giving a customer incorrect and potentially dangerous advice.

Last month, our mystery shoppers made another 30 calls to the Whirlpool call centre.

One of those callers was told that their machine was not affected. This was incorrect as we gave the call centre a model number of a dryer we knew was on the list. They even told us to throw any letters received about the safety notice ‘in the rubbish’.

On three occasions, mystery shoppers were told to contact the shop they bought the machine from for a replacement.

We also found long waits for a customer ID number that needs to be issued before anything can happen in the repair or replacement process.

Despite Whirlpool committing to reducing the waiting time for a customer ID number to 10 days, Which? found some call handlers quoting 6-12 weeks to mystery shoppers.

Which? says

Alex Neill, Managing Director of Home & Legal Services at Which?, said: ‘It is absolutely unacceptable that, one year on, Whirlpool customers are still seeing slow, poor service and potentially receiving incorrect and dangerous advice. Whirlpool’s modification programme is clearly not progressing as fast as it should.

‘Following the devastating fire caused by a tumble dryer in Shepherds Bush earlier this year, Whirlpool cannot be allowed to continue letting consumers down. It must clean up its act and sort out this mess urgently.’

Update: 12 January 2017

Today, we’ve launched a campaign to challenge Whirlpool to sort this mess out quickly. It’s now been a lengthy 14 months since the news broke that certain Whirlpool-owned tumble dryers could pose a fire-risk.

Some 750 fires have been reportedly linked to Whirlpool’s faulty dryers. Whirlpool’s repair programme is moving too slowly, so their unmodified fire-risk dryers continue to pose a potential threat to people’s homes.

In August 2016, Sharna’s home was destroyed by a Whirlpool dryer:

Last month, we took the decision to file for a judicial review of Peterborough Trading Standards’ handling of the Whirlpool dryer safety issue. As Whirlpool’s UK headquarters are in Peterborough, it’s Peterborough City Council’s Trading Standards department that’s been dealing with this matter.

This issue shouldn’t be allowed to drag on any longer and we need your help to make Whirlpool do more to prevent dryer fires.

Do you support our campaign? Have you been affected by the Whirlpool tumble dryer safety issue? What more would you like done to resolve this safety issue?

Terry says:
13 January 2017

Thank you Which for this campaign.
We could all warn and help our families, friends and neighbours prevent this threat suddenly destroying life and well being.
Somebody’s Gran may be using a Dryer in need of a service and about to catch fire. I hope that doesn’t happen.

Angus says:
14 January 2017

Like many others the promised date October 16 went past with no rectification. In December tried ringing to no avail and then tried online chat (hotpointservice.co.uk), which worked a dream. Made appointment, dryer rectified within a week.

Tony says:
14 January 2017

We have one of the listed models – having just read all the previous comments, can someone please explain what the engineer actually does to “fix” the fire hazard problem !
Have these models got an inherent, dangerous design fault ? Is it all down to user laziness ?
We always clean the lint filter and never operate it unattended, are we still at risk ?


yes I want to know what they do too. I cant imagine they will be risk free until a double sided mesh filter is put in, like there is in most other tumble dryers

Keith Turfrey says:
15 January 2017

I added mine to the list as it was in the number range. However as it was smoking prior to the recall I had already replaced it.
Do not expect any recompense now. Should have waited till it caught fire!

Vic Taylor says:
15 January 2017

I took advantage of Whirlpools offer to purchase a replacement, which was working fine until a fuse in our junction box blew last week. I reset the fuse and everything appeared to be in order. Today when I came to use the tumble dryer it would not work. When I checked the fuse on the machine it had not only blown the fuse on the machine , but it had also blown a hole in the wallplug. I am about to pursue Whirlpool to seek a complete refund of the cost of the machine and cost of replacing the wall socket and having the circuit checked


Vic obviously a short circuit internally relating to the heating element . I checked those elements over a wide range and they use from 8 amps rms to 10 amps rms that would mean a fuse of the standard ring main size of 13 amps (brown fuse ) unless you wanted premature blowing of fuse on power surge. But ,you say the wall-plug had a hole blown in it ? that leaves only two options -#1- the plug itself was not up to BS OR -# 2-due to dirt/damp a lower resistance path was provided internally in the plug allowing a much larger current flow to occur in that case if you open up the plug you will see the tracking of the current internally . I am sure Kenneth , when he reads your post will have his own point of view on this but it doesn’t say much that the internal fuse didn’t stop the current flowing back towards the ring-main. I hope the internal fuses aren’t – Slow-Blow -are they Kenneth?


Almost anything can cause a dryer (or most appliances) to trip an RCD, leak to earth, dead short etc if it’s on an RCD.

If you mean it’s taking the fuse out then it’s almost for sure a dead short which would mean, usually, that some terminals somewhere have arced together for some reason.

In both cases the most common thing is some moisture on them somehow but, it can be a result of a faulty component including earth leakage.

In any event to pursue a claim with Whirlpool you will need to know precisely what the issue is and to find that out may range from fairly easy to downright difficult and involve a fair bit of testing to get to the bottom of the root cause.

Do try it on another socket as well as faulty sockets and the circuits they sit on are extremely common to come across being faulty and not the machines. If the socket looks blown then, to be honest, that’s actually more likely than the dryer being the root issue.

But you do need to find out where the problem lies before any course of action can be advised.


Vic Taylor says:
16 January 2017

Kenneth and Duncan,
I got the wall socket checked by an electrician and it appears that it was the wall socket that was at fault; fortunately there was no damage to the machine or the circuit. A new wall socket and a plug to the machine has been fitted and tested.
Many thanks for your advise

Brian Dobson (BrianD) says:
15 January 2017

I rejected a white free replacement Hotpoint about 3 month ago stating I needed a graphite unit and last week accepted for £59 a graphite replacement.
I has previously dismantled my 9 year old appliance to correct the design faults although my wife was uncomfortable using the appliance. There were 2 issues.
1) The key design shortcoming which leads to a lack of inherent safety is that the “filter” installed was NOT a filter it was a strainer . A strainer has only a single face to separate fluff from exhaust air. it is essentially impossible to remove the strainer without excess fluff dropping into the vent pipe. The safe requirement is for a “basket filter” where the fluff is trapped completely surrounded by the filter media.

2) I found on my dismantled drier that the plastic holder for the strainer did not mate with the vent pipe running from the front to the rear outlet for the vent discharge. There was a gap of about 7mm which allowed fluff-laden air to be discharged into the main body of the appliance. This would allow hot fluff to find a source of ignition in the heater or motor. Indeed an actual source may not even be necessary as the combustion may be initiated by a smoulder mechanism. I rectified this fault by sealing the vent line with high temperature duct tape around the circumference.

Patrick Taylor says:
17 January 2017

Thank you so very much for your appraisal of the machines innards. This is the kind of detail that surely should have been explained 12 months ago.

I could almost weep that Which? in a year of “campaigning” has failed to do this most basic of services for its subscribers. If your contention that the strainer is a flawed design is correct , and it sounds very logical, then this definitely needs attention.

Which? has a board of appointed businessmen currently and some very well-paid staff and I having the feeling that we have moved to a talking shop without actually getting into the nuts and bolts of product and having a go at manufacturers.


i agree thank you for naming the parts, one sided is a straainer and double sided a basket. no problem with a safer basket but mine has supposedly been safe to buy with a gree sticker but it only has a strainer…


What on earth is a “convo”? I presume it is an abbreviation of some sort like the execrable “app”. This sort of abbreviation nullifies the purpose of writing, which is to communicate, as opposed to obfuscate. Please refrain from being lazy.