Millions of Whirlpool customers could be at risk of tumble dryer fires. Despite the clear safety threat, we found serious failings by Whirlpool. So Whirlpool – please, sort this mess out now.
Seven months have passed since the news that tumble dryers manufactured by Whirlpool (Creda, Indesit, and Hotpoint) are at risk of catching fire.
Seven months on and we’re still waiting for this mess to be resolved. Left totally disappointed by the sheer lack of progress, we went undercover to investigate what’s going on.
Whirlpool fire-risk failings
We conducted a series of undercover phone calls to Whirlpool’s customer service lines, combined with a survey of 800 affected customers and 40 case studies – including many of you…
We found widespread confusion and a lack of information. On our undercover calls we were repeatedly told to claim a replacement for a nine month old machine from the retailer, but a number of our case studies tried this route and were told to take this up with Whirlpool.
Owners of recalled tumble dryers are faced with unreasonable delays for repairs – delays of six months or more, and this is after the 8-12 week wait for a customer ID to register a repair or recall.
And yet all the while, the advice from Whirlpool has remained that customers may continue to use their fire-risk tumble dryers provided they follow additional manufacturer’s instructions.
Dissatisfaction doesn’t quite cut it for outraged customers like Richard Carbutt:
Well the months drag on and so far no word from @whirlpool about a repair to our faulty tumble dryer. Can’t use it safely!
— Richard Carbutt (@dixie9) 10 March 2016
Stuck between a rock and a hard place, affected customers have been faced with the difficult decision of waiting it out for a repair or paying for a reduced price replacement.
It’s not on.
Action from Whirlpool
So we asked Whirlpool to comment on our findings, it said:
‘The safety of our customers is our number one priority. We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that the modification programme is being carried out in a safe and timely manner. The scale of this modification programme is considerable and we’re continually looking into alternative options which will allow us to progress the programme at a faster pace. As a result, we continue to recruit extra engineers and call-centre staff to speed up the modification programme.’
Whirlpool has set up a website for customers to input their dryer’s model details to see if it’s affected. But disappointingly, Whirlpool is yet to published a complete list of the affected models. We have – here’s 127 affected models. We think Whirlpool must take urgent action to put things right and publish the full model list. It’s their customers who are being left with faulty and potentially dangerous goods in their homes, it’s their responsibility to sort it out.
We want Whirlpool to:
- Clearly list all 127 affected model numbers on the front page of its website with details of how customers can get help.
- Speed up the process by making it quicker to generate a customer ID number when consumers first make contact with the call centre.
- Train its call centre staff to offer better advice to affected customers and stop directing them to retailers, who are in turn directing people back to Whirlpool, simply delaying the process.
We’re also calling on the Government to act swiftly to simplify the product recall system.
Following Lynn Faulds Wood’s review into product safety, the Government set up a steering group to take the recommendations forward. We want the Government and the steering group to act quickly to close the loopholes that allow companies to leave consumers without the basic information and advice they need.
If you own a Whirlpool tumble dryer (Indesit, Creda, or Hotpoint) then follow our guide on what to do next.
So have you been affected by this tumble dryer recall? What has your experience been? Do you think Whirlpool are doing enough for their customers?