/ Home & Energy

Do you have a recalled Whirlpool washing machine? Here’s what to do

More than half a million washing machines are affected by the latest Whirlpool recall. Check if yours is one of them, and find out what to do next.

Update 29/04/2020

Whirlpool has recalled another 21 models of Hotpoint washing machines over safety concerns that have been identified in the door mechanism.  It’s thought around 55,000 households in the UK could have one of the models in this latest round of recalls.

The full list of affected models, including the most recently announced, can be found below so you can check if yours is one of them.

If your washing machine is affected, we’d like to hear from you about how quickly you’re able to arrange a repair or replacement, and how it’s being carried out under social distancing restrictions. Tell us below in the comments section.

Update 29/01/2020

Six weeks on from the announcement of the safety issue and three more Hotpoint washing machine models have been added to the recall – listed below.

We want to know how the recall is progressing for affected customers.  We’ve really appreciated hearing your feedback.

We want to find out if people’s cases are being resolved effectively. If you own a recalled Hotpoint or Indesit washing machine, take our survey and tell us about your experience of the recall.

Update 09/01/2020

Whirlpool’s recall of more than half a million fire-risk washing machines begins today.

Sue Davies, Which?’s Head of Consumer Protection said:

“It would clearly be unacceptable if customers were left for many months without adequate washing facilities in their homes, particularly when there is also no offer to cover consequential costs such as trips to the laundrette.

The company should do the right thing and offer customers a refund, so people can get fire-risk machines out of their homes and quickly find a suitable replacement.

There needs to be a full investigation about what Whirlpool knew about these machines and when. The government’s failing Office for Product Safety and Standards must also be replaced by an independent regulator with real powers to keep dangerous products out of people’s homes”

Do you agree with us that Whirlpool should offer a refund? Andy Slaughter MP does, and has started a petition asking Whirlpool to do the right thing.

Sign the Petition

Originally published 18/12/2019

Bought a Hotpoint or Indesit machine since 2014? You might need to stop using it. It’s been found that some have a faulty door which could cause a fire.

But with the Whirlpool website and customer care line experiencing technical difficulties, many people have been finding it hard to get the information they need.

We’ve put together this guide covering what you need to know.

How do I know if my washing machine is being recalled?

Check the model number on your machine and see if it’s one of the affected models listed below. You can find the model number inside the door, or on the back of the machine.

The company has said the problem is with Hotpoint and Indesit washing machines made between October 2014 and February 2018, but it’s worth checking regardless of when you bought yours.

These are the washing machine models affected:

Hotpoint models recalled

  • FML 742P UK
  • WMAOD 743G UK
  • WMAOD 743P UK
  • WMAQB 641P UK
  • WMAQB 721P UK
  • WMAQB 721P UK.M
  • WMAQB 741G UK
  • WMAQB 741P UK
  • WMAQC 641P UK.M
  • WMAQC 741G UK
  • WMAQC 741P UK
  • WMAQC 741P UK.M
  • WMAQF 621G UK
  • WMAQF 621P UK
  • WMAQF 621P UK.L
  • WMAQF 641G UK
  • WMAQF 641P UK
  • WMAQF 641P UK.M
  • WMAQF 721G UK
  • WMQF 721P UK
  • WMAQF 721P UK.M
  • WMAQG 641G UK
  • WMAQG 641P UK
  • WMAQG 721P UK
  • WMAQG 721P UK.M
  • WMAQG 741P UK.M
  • WMAQL 621G UK
  • WMAQL 621P UK
  • WMAQL 641P UK
  • WMAQL 721A UK
  • WMAQL 721P UK
  • WMAQL 721P UK.M
  • WMAQL 741G UK
  • WMAQL 741P UK
  • WMBF 742G UK
  • WMBF 742K UK
  • WMBF 742P UK
  • WMBF 742P UK.M
  • WMBF 763P UK
  • WMEF 722 BC UK
  • WMEF 742 P UK
  • WMEUF 722P UK
  • WMEUF 743G UK
  • WMEUF 743P UK
  • WMFG 741G UK
  • WMFG 741P UK
  • WMFG 741P UK.M
  • WMFUG 742 P UK.M
  • WMFUG 742G UK
  • WMFUG 742P UK
  • WMFUG 842P UK.M
  • WMJLF 842P UK
  • WMJLL 742P UK
  • WMSAQG 621G UK
  • WMSAQG 621P UK
  • WMXTF 742G UK
  • WMXTF 742K UK
  • WMXTF 742P UK
  • WMXTF 842P UK.M
  • WMYL 7151PS UK
  • WMAQC 641P UK
  • WMAQG 741P UK

Indesit models recalled

  • XWA 81252X K UK
  • XWA 81252X W UK
  • XWD 71452X K UK

If your washing machine is listed above, you should stop using it until you can confirm if it’s affected.

However, Whirlpool says to reduce the risk of fire, affected washing machines can still be used on a 20C setting. We think this is confusing advice, and we’re pressing for more information.

However, we have confirmed with a number of insurance companies that you’ll still be covered if your recalled machine starts a fire, as long as you follow Whirlpool’s advice.

Some insurers have told us you might not be covered if you knowingly ignore Whirlpool’s safety advice.

If you decide to carry on using your washing machine, stay at home while it’s running a cycle and don’t put it on overnight.

How do I get my washing machine replaced or fixed?

Whirlpool will start a repair and replacement scheme on January 9th 2020.

To get yours fixed or replaced, you’ll need to register on the Whirlpool website.

You can also call the Whirlpool customer service line on 0800 316 1442.

If you’ve already submitted your information, Whirlpool will be in touch with you soon.

How long will it take to get a repair or a replacement washing machine?

We don’t know yet, but it could take weeks or months for repairs to take place. If everyone follows the advice to stop using their washing machines, thousands will be unable to do their laundry over Christmas and New Year, or even longer.

For this reason, we’ll be pushing Whirlpool to also offer refunds in addition to the options of repair or replacement.

How do i know if the machine I’m offered is ‘like for like’?

If you’re offered for a ‘like for like’ replacement machine, it’s important that it’s suitable for your needs and is as close as possible to the specifications of your original washing machine.

In deciding what is suitable it’s important you consider the following specifications:

  • Capacity (drum size)
  • Spin speed
  • Machine colour
  • Energy rating

And, importantly, that the dimensions of the replacement machine is appropriate for the space in your home.

Will I be able to get any costs covered?

We’d like to see Whirlpool offer reimbursement of any out-of-pocket expenses caused by this recall. For example, the cost of removing and replacing fixed appliances in fitted kitchens.

If the recall results in you paying out, keep your receipts just in case there’s a chance to claim these costs back in the future.

We’ll be updating this post as we get more information on the recall, and how repairs and replacements will be rolled out.

Do you have a recalled model? Has Whirlpool arranged a repair or replacement for you yet? 

We want to know how the experience has been for you.  Fill in our survey below: 

(Viewing this on mobile? Take the survey in full screen mode instead)

Create your own user feedback survey

Tell us more about how you’ve been affected below.

Comments

I registered mine on the website easily and then received an email stating it is an affected machine and given a reference number.
Have done one load of washing since at 20 degrees but have decided not to do anymore as my concern would be if it did catch fire would my house insurance still cover me knowing I am using a faulty machine

Liz, I think you are correct to worry about that.

When faced with similar problems affecting tumble dryers, Whirlpool received a lot a criticism for suggesting that “at-risk” dryers might still be used under supervision instead of being quarantined for repair or replacement. This latest advice obviously makes safety their overriding priority.

For those with affected “Boeing 737 MAX” appliances, this “do-not-use-until-further-notice” advice will obviously lead to inconvenience and or expense. If something like this affected me, I would at least have the option of using local launderettes, but I’d probably just seek out an immediate (and perhaps inexpensive) replacement appliance.

Contacting the insurance company would be the only sure way of finding out if they would cover a washing machine that has been recalled and is waiting to be replaced/repaired.

If I had an fire risk washing machine I would replace it as Derek has suggested and wait for Hotpoint to provide a new machine, which could be sold. That’s OK if you have storage space.

Kevin Buckle says:
22 December 2019

I rang and told them my elderly mother has a problem that requires heavy use of the machine. The answer was that we cannot be prioritised. I asked about manually setting the temperature on a less than 1 hour wash to 20°. I was directed to the frequently asked questions. Nothing there. They will not give a refund so we’re stuck. It’s a disgrace.

If you do continue to use the machine, please check for any sign of overheating near the door lock – such as discolouration or melting of plastic. If present, it would be very unwise to use the machine. As you say it’s a disgrace.

Hi Kevin,

That is awful. For some people they can do without their washing machine for a bit but for people like your mother is it a necessity.

Would you be able to email us with some more information? Model, when it was purchased, what you think you will do to get the laundry done and more detail of what Whirlpool said when you explained the situation? Our email is conversation.comments@which.co.uk.

Thank you and good luck with getting it sorted.

If Whirlpool’s figures are to be believed then out of 519 000 affected machines that have been in use for up to 5 years, there have been 79 incidents attributed to overheated door switches. These, they say, caused only minor damage. So there is a 1.5 in 10 000 chance, on this basis, of any one machine having a problem.

Clearly, in the light of the abysmal response (aided by Trading Standards) to the dryer problem, Whirlpool had little choice but to react in the way they have. The test will be how quickly they put customers machines right.

Should you continue using your machine in the present circumstances? Well, I know what I would do.

I have had my affected machine over 3 years and pay for breakdown and repair coverage with D&G who say that they cannot help. I’m wondering if they will refund premiums if they can’t help. I can’t afford to replace the machine unless there is a promise of a refund so have to keep using it.

I expect the terms of the D & G contract will exclude them from latent defects. However, it’s worth reading the small print in case they are trying to abrogate a joint and several responsibility.

The D&G has this information:
“If your query is about the Whirlpool washing machine recall, you must contact Whirlpool directly. Please visit https://washingmachinerecall.whirlpool.co.uk to access Whirlpool’s dedicated washing machine recall website. Alternatively, please call Whirlpool’s freephone hotline number 0800 316 1442 for more information.”

I wonder how many of the affected machines were repaired under D&G warranties before the recall was announced.

So my lock did burn out a couple of months ago and took the wiring loom with it. No damage to the rest of the machine just quite acrid smoke. I replaced lock and wiring at own expense. I would say small chance of getting that money back without a fight. The machine did not fuse nor did the trip switch go back at the electric meter which is a bit worrying given the wire insulation burnt back to leave exposed wires. Exposed wires plus water plus metal washing machine panels not a good mix, never mind the fire risk. Replacement lock supplied was genuine part but funny enough was a different design to the original. I think that says it all.

Matt, thanks for sharing this interesting info.

Hi Matt,

Could you give us a bit more information? I don’t suppose you have any photos of the damage?

Graham says:
23 December 2019

I have one of the listed models, but when I filled in the online form, I mistakenly selected grey as the door catch colour. It’s actually off-white. I rang to inform the hotline (several times, because managers weren’t available or hadn’t rung me back) but have not had any confirmation that an off white catch equipped machine is ok (grey apparently is ok to use…on my model)

Have you had any indication of when you might know?

My girlfriend replaced her Whirlpool washing machine last year as there was smoke coming from the door. Presumably she has no right to compensation and her machine is not included in any statistics

Was it one of the models affected by the recall?

Unfortunately once it went to the tip the documentation was binned too, but all the signs were similar to what has been reported At the time all of the focus was on Whirlpool tumble dryers

If it was one of the fire risk machines, at least your girlfriend not been at risk since it was scrapped.

I wonder if many other machines have escaped the statistics?

I presume that the number of dryers affected, according to Whirlpool, is the number sold. Some of these will already have been scrapped.

Ann Boyle says:
27 December 2019

Checked on line, it showed ours is one of the models affected. Completed the registration, when I put serial number got message “We have checked your washing machine against our systems and can confirm it is not affected by this product safety issue. You can continue to use your washing machine as normal. You will shortly be receiving confirmation of this in writing to your verified email address.”

Fortunately I took a screen shot as no email has been received. Going back on web site & trying again gives message that my appliance has already been registered

So do I trust message or not?

Ann, others have reported similar outcomes here. So I think the message can be trusted.

It seems that only some of these machines need to be fixed.

A possible explanation is that only some batches of components are involved in the problem.

Even though the washing machine model is one of those affected by the recall, it is presumably not one that contains a defective component – as Derek says. I suggest that Ann phones Whirlpool and asks for this to be confirmed by email.

Hi. Does anyone know if the recalls are just for the UK. Indesit models have a suffix “uk” which suggests limited to Uk but we may have one of these machines in Spain which takes a suffix ES OR EU. anyone know if recall is Europe wide ?

Hi Paul, the announcement featured in this Convo was made by Whirlpool UK and only applies to machines sold in the UK and Ireland.

If similar machines were sold in the rest of Europe, they might also be affected, but won’t be the responsibility of Whirlpool UK.

So you may need to look at your favourite Spanish news channels to see if anything is happening there.

As my grasp of Spanish is essentially non-existent, I’ve just Googled some French sources instead. Major news channels there have reported the UK announcements but so far I have not any coverage of whether or not similar problems will exist in France or other EU countries.

I suggest contacting Whirlpool for advice.

The recall is not yet on the EU Rapex recalls database, but that might give some useful information. For the previous recall of Hotpoint, Indesit, etc. dryers it mentioned (in addition to UK, which reported the problem): “Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain”

Robert Bailey says:
27 December 2019

Appalling !! My model is not affected by this fault, but I will NEVER buy anything from this company group EVER AGAIN!! I had both Hotpoint washing machine and dryer. The dryer was affected by the safety problems, but getting an appointment for a fix took so long, I scrapped it and bought a new one at my own expense.
The way the company have dealt with these serious safety issues is nothing short of scandalous, they deserve to lose all their customers. Vote with your wallet folks!

Just tried to call the helpline today (27/12/19) at 2.10pm. I got an automated message telling me “the office is now closed”, and that it is open till 6pm Mon-Fri. and till 3.30pm Bank Holidays – either way, I was well within those times. I can understand the helpline being closed over the Christmas period, but their own answering message is not reflecting that, and according to what they told Which it would be open 7 days a week.
Has there been any indication given as to which days it would be closed over the Holiday period?

I have 5 machines to check and found the whole process extremely unfriendly. Some machines are 100 miles away so I got photos of the serial number only to input this and find I then needed the colour of the door catch!! Why on earth not list what you need at the start!
I too had a machine fail last year with a burned out switch and fixed it myslelf. They must have known there was a problem by then.
I’m not at all comfortable with the 20deg advice, if this takes a while there could be more problems with infections from bacteria in the machines as all machines need periodic hot washes to kill bacteria. I just don’t think they have thought this through at all. I think the advice must be “watch the machine at all times when its live, never put it on and go to bed!”

Hi robwlondon – You are right about the need for maintenance washes – usually carried out at the maximum temperature setting. These prevent the insides of the machine becoming coated in a slime of bacteria and moulds.

I suggest using a little bleach in a cold cycle. Some recommend using washing soda to clean washing machines but that is highly alkaline and could damage aluminium components such as the ‘spider’ at the back of the drum.

Best of luck with getting prompt action.

Karen says:
6 January 2020

I have been reading through the comments on this forum so thought I would post my own experience today.

I have a Hotpoint machine which I purchased from Currys less than 2 years ago. I learned about the recall via the press and on accessing the Whirlpool website, I’ve discovered my washing machine is affected.

I called Currys only to be met immediately by a recorded message that states you should contact Whirlpool if you are part of the product recall. This suggests to me that Currys is avoiding any direct contact with them relating to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 so that they don’t have to handle any requests about a refund.

I also called my credit card company under Section 75 and, after about 45 minutes of dealing with two different people and answering a number of questions, I have been advised to provide them with evidence of the recall and other proof of purchase items, including that I’ve contacted Currys and Whirlpool, before they’ll consider a claim. This is not to say there won’t be a good outcome but whatever the outcome is, the turnaround time is many weeks away before I hear back.

So it seems that Whirlpool and Currys aren’t planning to offer refunds and while I may have a better outcome from my credit card provider, I can’t be certain of that at this point.

Whirlpool states that it will offer repair or like-for-like replacements but does that mean the like-for-like will be new or could it be a repaired/reconditioned machine?

I could purchase another brand machine and then when Whirlpool comes calling, potentially refuse a repair/replacement and/or sell the old repaired/replaced machine though I would be surprised if anyone aware of the recall would be willing to buy a Hotpoint machine now, even second-hand.

I think consumers should be given the option to say they have no confidence in the brand, and any repair/replacement offered, and to ask and be given a refund. Currys could still benefit from a sale if someone wants to purchase a different brand of machine via their store, and credit card providers may well find that the new purchase is made using the same card so there’s no real loss to either company.

It’s great to have useful consumer advice about rights, but it does seem to me that it’s useful only if manufacturers, retailers and credit card providers all commit to being accountable and working with the consumer based on what that consumer states would meet their needs in a situation like this.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 seems to cover this quite clearly (and the Sale of Goods Act had the same approach if the product was purchased before 2015). Where a product can be shown to have a fault from new – and the admission by Whirlpool is that these door locks are inadequate, therefore demonstrating a fault – the first remedy is a repair or a replacement. The consumer chooses, unless one is disproportionate compared to the other. So the retailer is entitled to repair if this is the cheaper option.

The repair should also be carried out without unreasonable inconvenience to the customer (however that might be interpreted) but I would suggest being without the use of a fully-functioning washing machine for more than 3 weeks would be unreasonable for a straightforward repair. That might well be difficult to achieve, given the scale of the problem so I would suggest we should expect compensation to be paid for the inconvenience. Whirlpool could also offer a replacement machine as an alternative – I wonder how they will decide who gets these?

I do not see why a retailer should avoid their obligations to deal with the problem directly, as they are legally required. They could get their repairer to fit a new lock and charge Whirlpool. Is there some legal device that allows the retailer to pass their responsibility on to the manufacturer? We had exactly the same problem with the Indesit tumble dryers where huge inconvenience was cause by an inept remedial scheme.

Should Which? be advising consumers on these matters and pressing a case for adequate compensation?

I doubt that a credit card provider would – or should – provide a refund unless other avenues had been explored first by the customer with an agreed unacceptable outcome.

Hi Karen – Here is a comment from Twitter:
“Why can’t you offer a refund, then people can buy a new washing machine knowing they’ll be refunded for their substandard product. I don’t particularly want a new hotpoint now or a repair! I think that to sort out the recall from january is unacceptable”

Which Press Office responded:
Which? Press Office responded @WhichPress
“Hi Natasha at Which? we’re interested in hearing about the experiences of people like yourself who have been affected by the Hotpoint recall. Would you be able to send us a direct message so we can discuss your case in a bit more detail?”

If you don’t use Twitter you could send an email to conversation.comments@which.co.uk and a member of the Convo team might be happy to pass it on.

We could do with an update on progress by Whirlpool.

Karen says:
7 January 2020

Malcolm, thanks for your response.

I’ve followed the correct procedure in that I have registered with Whirlpool as requested by the manufacturer and I am waiting to hear what they’ll have to tell me when they do contact me. I would prefer a new machine rather than a repair and, while I can see from a business perspective a repair is a cheaper option for Whirlpool, I would say that given the history with their dryers and now washing machines, I think it’s understandable to have lost confidence in the brand and to want to buy a new, different brand machine. I’m prepared to wait a reasonable amount of time to hear from the company, but while I believe affected consumers are supposed to have a time frame for a resolution, we haven’t thus far been given one except a vague statement.

I separately contacted Currys because the Consumer Rights Act 2015 states I can try for a resolution from them. I wasn’t sure how far I would get, but I wasn’t expecting a recorded message that essentially passes the buck. I think your suggestion for a repair has merit and would make sense to many, but clearly many companies don’t plan well for these events.

Under Section 75, purchases are covered if over £100 and therefore it is appropriate to ask the credit card provider to consider a resolution. I was also upfront about why i was calling and what I had already tried to do with both Whirlpool and Currys. Obviously they have their own processes for determining whether or not to provide a refund, but at least my provider listened to me and offered me the chance to send them information and to eventually get some sort of decision – as we discussed when I was on the ‘phone to them, it may be that all is resolved by Whirlpool in a satisfactory way first.

I would, admittedly, be happier with some sort of refund so I could make a different choice. I will just have to see what happens next – and hopefully not wait too long!

Karen says:
7 January 2020

Hello wavechange,

Thanks for the response.

I do use social media and have seen some of the comments on Whirlpool’s Twitter account. I considered sending a direct message to Which? but might just send the details of my experience along to the email address. I agree it would be useful to have an update.

Hi Karen – In your position I would buy a different machine and opt for a new replacement, as you mentioned. Whirlpool has given you the choice:

“If your washing machine is being recalled, you will be able to choose between two options:

A like-for-like replacement washing machine provided free-of-charge
A free-of-charge in-home repair of your appliance”

Hopefully whoever delivers the new machine will refrain from opening the box, so that it can be sold as unused.

Karen says:
10 January 2020

Update:

I decided to email Currys after my last post. In that email I had attached my original purchase order and explained that while I had registered with Whirlpool, I was contacting Currys as the retailer under the Consumer Act. Yesterday I received a call and an email from a customer service person at Currys. He was from their Team KnowHow. He told me that he had contacted Hotpoint to ask about the washing machine model. He had been advised by someone there that my machine wasn’t affected and that this was because the machines in questions were made between March 2014 and February 2018. That was new information to me as the press I had seen had only mentioned the years, not the months. The email sent also gave me the Hotpoint customer service number if I wanted to check. I explained that this meant there was a discrepancy in that he was telling me the machine was OK, but the Whirlpool site was telling me it wasn’t. I said I would need this assertion in writing and the agent said he would try and follow up with Hotpoint again and would contact me later last night. I did not hear back and so far haven’t today. He had also said he couldn’t open my earlier email’s attachment with the PO inside to view the model number which seemed odd since he would have needed to check that with a Hotpoint representative.

I then called the Hotpoint number he’d given me today, in fact a few minutes ago, and did get a customer service agent fairly quickly. I told him what I had been advised by Currys and explained that I had contacted them as the retailer. The Whirlpool/Hotpoint agent said that I wasn’t to accept that advice from Currys and that if, in registering my machine on the Whirlpool site I was sent a confirmation email telling me my machine was affected, then that is what I should go by. I did ask if they knew when things would be rectified as I have now been without a washing machine since the announcement, and the agent told me I should be receiving an email next week. I asked about the repair or replacement option and was told that it won’t be a repair, it will be a machine. I asked if the machine would be new or reconditioned and the reply was that it would be a new machine, either like-for-like or same grade. I suggested they should consider refunds but the agent was adamant they wouldn’t be. I also asked about some other compensation for the long wait and was told emphatically there would be no compensation. I was told I could use the machine at 20 degrees but when I said that doing so would surely be an issue around home insurance if anything went wrong, he replied that my home insurance wasn’t not something he would know about so not using the machine was my decision. I found the agent jumped in sometimes before I had finished speaking. I treated him politely and didn’t get angry as I never see the point of that, but I think that this might be due to the volume of calls the agents are dealing with as well as the no doubt many angry customers they are talking to.

It would seem, unless I hear from the agent again, that Currys were expecting me to accept their explanation unless, to give the benefit of the doubt, they had checked and received erroneous information. The agent did seem genuine about contacting Hotpoint again but I suspect any further contact from me (I was given an extension number) probably won’t elicit much. As for Whirlpool, it seems as though they’ve taken the decision to offer new machines rather than repair and that will be the only form of redress. So if someone really doesn’t want another Hotpoint machine, they will have to be prepared to fight for compensation or a refund, or be prepared to buy a new, different brand machine at their own expense.

I’ll be interested to see the Whirlpool email when it arrives.

Karen says:
10 January 2020

Excuse a couple of typos in there: one sentence should read ‘he replied that my home insurance wasn’t something he would know about so not using the machine was my decision’.

Hi again Karen, and thanks for your update. I hope that Which? will issue advice on claiming compensation. If you register on the Which? Convo website and log-in before posting you will have 30 minutes to correct typos. It also means that your posts will be seen in ‘Latest comments’.

There is something seriously lacking when we find ourselves on the receiving end of shoddy products or services. As laws stand at the moment, we have to receive more of the same, we can’t opt to have an alternative product or service.

We need some new rules and options …..

Dangerous unusable appliances – Instant refund with collection organised by retailer. Subtract maybe 5% of the original purchase price for each year of ownership.

Repairs – Opt to get the repair carried out by your choice of authorised technician and be able to claim the cost back from the retailer or manufacturer.

Opt to have a different appliance of your choice from the manufacturer.

Shoddy services – There is no point getting the same trades-person to rectify work, as you are only going to get more of the same and the likelihood is you would not want them inside your property again anyway. We should be able to get work rectified by alternate means and charge the original trades-person.

Although in general I think companies should have an opportunity to put things right in the first instance, that presumes that the fault or defect is exceptional. When a whole production batch of goods is seriously affected such that the statutory remedy process cannot be executed within the permitted timeframes then a different policy, as put forward by Alfa, should apply. It seems fair and reasonable to me.

Karen says:
7 January 2020

Those are good suggestions alfa.

I consider it reasonable to allow the repair of a product with a fault if that cures the problem. But, it should be accomplished in a reasonable time. If that cannot happen, because maybe of the scale of the problem then other remedies should be offered.

In the case of washing machines I wonder what will happen to those replaced with new ones. We complain about perfectly serviceable appliances (which ones with new door locks would be) being thrown away – think of the planet. We cannot have it both ways so I’d hope there would be a market for “refurbished” machines.

It does seem extraordinary that over half a million machines included an underrated component before the problem was discovered; I can understand a specification mistake not being discovered for some time – presumably when sufficient overheating failures pointed to the component – but nearly 5 years? As with the dryers I wonder when knowledgeable people really knew a problem existed and when others decided they could no longer avoid getting to grips with it?

Perhaps, as is sometimes said, it is easy to have the wisdom of hindsight and perhaps be a little cynical. However, the longer a problem is allowed to go without correction the more the financial and reputational damage done to the manufacturer, so concealment is not in their interests. I wonder what view their shareholders take?

Providing that a repair or other remedy is provided within a reasonable time, that is perfectly satisfactory, in my view. If there is an unreasonable delay or any question about the efficacy of the repair (both relevant in the case of the Whirlpool dryer problem) then the owner should be promptly provided with a replacement machine or a partial refund, taking into account the age. We need to be fair to both consumers and companies.

The cause of the problem with the Hotpoint washing machines is not an underrated component. “Due to fretting corrosion between connectors of the harness and door lock terminals, the door lock connection can overheat. Under certain circumstances, this can lead to a fire.” Fretting corrosion in this context is due to the combined effect of vibration and oxidation, resulting in high resistance connections and consequent overheating. Equipment can operate normally for an extended period before the problem arises. In this case the problem was with the switch connections rather than the switch contacts, so replacement of wiring may be necessary as well as a new switch/door interlock assembly.

I very much agree with Alfa that consumers should have the opportunity to get someone else to remedy shoddy workmanship by a tradesperson.

Here is a link to the notification of the Whirlpool washing machine recall: https://ec.europa.eu/consumers/consumers_safety/safety_products/rapex/alerts/?event=main.immediatlyPublishedNotifications

This is on the EU RAPEX database, now rebranded as Safety Gate, which offers weekly reports of safety issues affecting products sold in EU countries.

Interesting to see the country of origin is Poland. Also, all the model numbers end in UK. Does this mean these machines were not sold anywhere else, or are there other models sold elsewhere in the world that are affected? Have any other manufacturers used the same switch assembly?

It’s early days and hopefully Whirlpool will look into product distribution and the possibility of other models being affected. If you look back at the earlier fire-risk dryer alert, nine or ten countries are mentioned.

The video in this article shows photographs of a burned door interlock and wiring: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/life/1218296/whirlpool-washing-machine-recall-tumble-dryer-fire-risk-hotpoint-indesit

I agree with ‘thinking of the planet’ to a certain extent here, but . . . .

Customers bought a washing machine in good faith and if it turns out to be a dangerous product, they should be able to return it to the manufacturer who should be responsible for recycling the product, whether it is refurbished or dismantled. We have already heard horror stories of tumble dryer repairs and if I had one of the affected machines, I would want it out of my house. Our lives are worth more than trusting a dangerous product has been made safe by someone who might have only been recently trained..

I heard this on the BBC News this morning:
Jeff Noel Whirlpool vice-president said:
This is a complex situation, and I wish it could be done overnight, I truly do, but we’re working flat-out to make sure we have all our people trained, we’ve doubled the staff, we’re adding service engineers …..,
Dec 2019

What a load of excuses and waste of money. They need to train their people, hire more people ?!?!?!?

Whirlpool need to do the decent thing and give refunds to anyone who wants one so they are able to select a new machine they deem safe. I suggested previously a deduction of maybe 5% for every year of ownership could be applied. They should also be responsible for disposal or refurbishment of the dangerous machines.

https://press.which.co.uk/whichpressreleases/whirlpool-refunds-urged-as-huge-washing-machine-recall-starts/

There is no question that unsafe products should be remedied as soon as possible, and the owners advised sensibly what actions and precautions to take. This needs to be guided, and supported, by good information.

There is a danger that the situation can be inflamed by emotive reporting and consumers, perhaps, made more anxious than is justified.
…..more than half a million fire-risk washing machines……”
“……had a serious safety fault which has caused 79 fires………

If Whirlpool’s figures are to be believed then out of 519 000 affected machines that have been in use for up to 4 years, there have been 79 incidents attributed to overheated door switches. These, they say, caused only minor damage. So there is a 1.5 in 10 000 chance, on this basis, of any one machine having a problem.
But do we know all the incidents, have there been serious fires directly attributable to degraded switch connections? I’d suggest until we know more we need to be more objective.

Which? is calling for the company to offer refunds to affected customers………..
After finally issuing a formal recall of faulty tumble dryers …….. Whirlpool eventually offered refunds of up to £150, with the value dependent on the age of the appliance.

”Whirlpool believe refunds would not ensure the fire-prone machines were withdrawn from people’s homes, which was its priority.
I believe that many would simply pocket the refund and carry on using the machine. £150 will not buy a decent new washing machine and many will not be able to afford to make up the difference.

The priority must be to ensure users have safe machines, to protect not only themselves but their neighbours. I think suggesting paying people off, in effect, is irresponsible.

…….restoring confidence in our broken product safety regime” is a recurring plea. One part is certainly in need of proper government support, and that is to resource Trading Standards – our current formal Market Surveillance Authority under EU requirements – so it can do its job of policing the market.
But I’d suggest that Which? should be pushing the urgent introduction of a recall system for appropriate products. We, currently, have no means of knowing who all the owners are of these washing machines nor of other potentially dangerous products. We cannot contact them all directly to inform them of a problem. Therefore, we cannot institute an effective “full recall”. I would like Which? to use its influence to deal with this major problem. I’ve suggested compulsory registration of contact details at the point of purchase. Ithers suggestions?

A fault inside the door was responsible for a Hotpoint tumble dryer fire in Llanwrst, Denbighshire in Oct 2014 that killed two men. At the inquest, in September 2017, the coroner stated that on the balance of probabilities the fire was caused by an electrical fault inside the door of the Hotpoint tumble dryer, a brand owned by Whirlpool.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/12/whirlpool-announces-recall-of-up-to-519000-indesit-and-hotpoint-fire-risk-washing-machines-in-the-uk/ – Which?

This simply adds to my concern about the way Which? approaches these problems. This is not an appropriate comment to add in this context. There are a number of unfortunate incidents caused by product failures.

I would, however, like to see the way Whirlpool operates properly investigated. What did they know about the washing machine fault and when? Who is critically examining their planned remedial programme and ensuring it is effective? How are affected customers being compensated for their inconvenience will they (supposedly) stop using their machines? Why cannot customers use their rights under the Consumer Rights Act and SoGA with the retailer to get a speedier resolution?

Since we have learned that the problem can develop with time and the nature of the problem fits in with that, the statistics may underestimate future risk.

Normally our legal rights are against the retailer but it would be interesting to know if this applies when a manufacturer issues a recall.

I hope that anyone who suffers property damage or injury will be aware that they can make a claim under the Consumer Protection Act: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-protection-act-1987

I think there is no question that there is future risk, which is why it is important to correct the problem without delay by fitting new switches, providing there is no other damage.

On the face of it this should be a straightforward fix. I do not see why Whirlpool need to make a meal of it. I would have thought any local (to the owner) domestic appliance repairer or electrician could do the job, given the new component and instructions. So are Whirlpool organising such a scheme UK-wide? Or are we going to see a protracted shambles as they organised for tumble dryers?

We don’t have full information, but as I mentioned before it may not just be a case of swapping a part. The fact that Whirlpool is prepared to offer owners: “A like-for-like replacement washing machine provided free-of-charge” suggests that simply swapping a component may not be the solution.

Whirlpool could collect the machines (that does not need trained engineers) and reimburse owners promptly.

An update from Which? about the Whirlpool recall, which apparently starts today: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/01/whirlpool-refunds-urged-as-washing-machine-recall-begins/

“We’re urging Whirlpool to offer consumers a refund and reimbursement for any out-of-pocket expenses caused by the recall, so people can quickly find a replacement for this essential household appliance.”

I agree, and had it been done when the recall was announced it could have saved Whirlpool the cost of paying compensation.

The demand for a refund (probably partial taking account of use – it was up to £150 for tumble dryers) has a real risk attached – that customers will simply pocket the money and carry on using their machine, which may leave them, and others, at risk. A replacement machine, exchanged for the defective one, will avoid this. As, hopefully, will a properly executed repair in appropriate cases.

What we need is Whirlpool to be forced to provide quick and effective solutions, in contrast to their dryer fiasco. Whether that is a replacement or a repair or, if a refund is offered, to remove the at-risk machine.

Is there any evidence that Whirlpool issued refunds without collecting the affected dryers in the previous recall? The company would not look good if there was an incident.

Most companies do ask for recalled goods to be returned but I was surprised that e.on made this voluntary when I responded to a recall relating to the power supply for a smart meter display.

John says:
9 January 2020

So I registered my washing machine online with whirlpool as it was one effected by the recall. I have only had an email from whirlpool to verify my email address nothing else. As whirlpool has said in the press that recalls will start on 9th January 2020 I expected some news today. So far no contact from whirlpool at all. So I decided to contacted whirlpool who said my machine hasn’t been registered and I had to re register. I wonder how many other people are in this situation without even knowing it. I would like whirlpool to offer a refund as I have lost faith in their products and service team. I no longer wish to have whirlpool products in our house. I feel very let down by the whole situation. Having 2 young children and not being able to get clothes washed at home is taking its toll 🙁

I’d suggest we need someone independent to oversee the Whirlpool recall operation and ensure that they carry it out efficiently and effectively, unlike last time. They should come from either OPSS or Trading Standards and be given the authority to act decisively if Whirlpool do not perform. One option could be to simply require Whirlpool to provide all customers with replacement machines, exchanged for the potentially faulty ones, if they do not provide a remedy within an agreed timescale.

The problem will remain, as we cannot achieve a full recall, of what we do about customers who do not respond and continue to hold and use potentially faulty machines. Can they be traced through their retailers by card or bank transfer details?

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 gives legal rights to both retailer and consumer. As I understand it one legal right is that in the event of a fault from new (e.g. a defective door switch or one that lacks durability) the product can be repaired or replaced. If that is impossible or, I suggest, not possible in a reasonable time and that does not cause unreasonable inconvenience to the owner, then the owner can choose between a price reduction or a refund – the full amount if less than 6 months old but with a deduction to allow for the use the owner has had if older. Keeping a faulty device that is potentially unsafe would be an option to be deprecated, so I would suggest the full or partial refund with the product removed.

Given the legal situation I am not clear on what basis Which? says this when it asks me to sign its petiton: ”Today it (Whirlpool) starts its official recall process. But it says it will ONLY offer a repair or replacement with no option for a refund. This is not good enough.

Whirlpool must give a refund if they cannot meet their obligations by providing a repair or replacement. However as Which? no doubt supports the Consumer Rights Act I do not see why Whirlpool should be denied their right to repair or replace in the first instance.

It all seems to me to depend upon how quickly Whirlpool provide the remedy to each affected owner. We need to be fair to both sides.

Here is what is on the Whirlpool website:

“If your washing machine is being recalled, you will be able to choose between two options:

> A like-for-like replacement washing machine provided free-of-charge
> A free-of-charge in-home repair of your appliance”

https://washingmachinerecall.whirlpool.co.uk/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrq2b75P35gIVhrTtCh1Q8wJfEAAYASAAEgI3a_D_BwE

As far as I know, this has not changed since the recall was announced.

Since most of these machines are still in working order I do not know whether it is possible to claim under the Consumer Rights Act. Hopefully a member of the Which? Legal team will be able to advise.

The Whirlpool proposal has not changed, and seems to accord with their legal obligation. However, the Which? campaign goes on to say “We’re working with Andy Slaughter MP (who we’ve previously campaigned alongside on Whirlpool tumble dryers) demanding Whirlpool offer refunds for its faulty washing machines.“. I’m questioning the basis for the demand – unless and until Whirlpool fail to deliver timely remedies.

The machines have an admitted safety defect and this constitutes a fault in the contract that exists between the retailer and the customer. The CRA deals with this. They are not in safe working order until rectified.

I think the issue is whether customers can have remedied or replacement machines in what would be regarded as a reasonable time, so they do not suffer unreasonable inconvenience. Maybe Which? would comment on this and suggest what should happen if the inconvenience becomes unreasonable – compensation for the time that is unreasonable, a partial refund, a full refund……. Hopefully someone is considering these options and monitoring how well Whirlpool are handling this.

What would be interesting to hear from Which? is how the contract with the retailer is affected when the manufacturer makes a full recall. Does the customer still have legal rights under CRA against the retailer and could the remedy be demanded from them, or are they off the hook and the rights are transferred to the manufacturer. The problem then is if you have a poor response from the manufacturer how do you pursue your rights? What happens if the manufacturer is outside the UK’s jurisdiction?

I have been waiting over a month, email still not received, and Whirlpool still can’t tell me when I will receive a remedy. I’d say I’m in the territory of ‘unreasonable’ time and inconvenience now.

Diane Hillyard says:
9 January 2020

We purchased an Indesit tumble dryer about 18 months ago, it stopped working and produced a very strong smell of smoke. The engineer came, said it was dangerous and must not be used and this is one of their modified models. This was a few weeks before Christmas , we said we would only accept a refund but haven’t heard any thing from them.

From an article in the Sun: “WHIRLPOOL customers with fire-risk washing machines have been charged up to 72p per minute to phone about repairs and replacements.

Some customers were charged as much as £30 after ringing a 0844 premium rate phone number that was included in an email from the domestic appliance firm.”

Companies can use costly numbers for sales etc. but not for customer service or complaints. It would be useful to have confirmation that Whirlpool is asking people to use costly phone numbers. It’s usually possible to find alternative numbers on the saynoto0870 website.

These are the contact numbers I can find:
To find out more about the recall and to check whether your machine will need to be recalled, you can click the button below or call 0800 316 1442.
Customer service: 0344 815 8989

Contact us:
By Phone
Whether you need assistance buying any of our products from our website, if you need to speak to somebody about a product you have bought from us or one of our dealers or, perhaps for an authorised service engineer, we are only one phone call away.
General Enquiries
03448 224 224
Buying on Whirlpool.co.uk:
0344 811 1707

It would be useful if the email with the 0844 number were published.

When I bought my washing machine, Miele provided me with an 0844 number for ‘Register my appliance’. I registered with the manufacturer.

Costly phone numbers are still being used by some companies and I wonder how much this is costing consumers.

Do Miele still do this? I can only see 0330 numbers.

I don’t know. The 0844 number was on a card included with the documentation. That was in 2016, well after the ban on costly numbers for customer services.

I don’t trust everything in the Sun, so I was seeking confirmation that Whirlpool are providing costly phone numbers.

Whirlpool offers a freephone 0800 number for initial contact about the recall. They have had this line for a while for people to enquire if their unit is affected, get advice on what to do, and book a replacement unit.

They were due to start sending replacement units out on 8th or 9th January 2020 and just before that they contacted the initial batch of people by email. The message detailed a telephone number to call to arrange the delivery.

Whirlpool had both of the exactly matching pair of 0344 and 0844 numbers activated, and unfortunately sent out the 0844 number in the initial batch of emails.

Operation of the 0844 number breaches Regulation 41 of the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013.

As soon as the error was pointed out, the 0844 number was shut off and all people who called the 0844 number will receive a refund of the call charges, as required by the law.

This appears to be a simple administrative error, encountered on the first day of the new system going live, and was fixed very rapidly.

A specific email address to claim the call charges back has been given. It’s in the official statement from Whirlpool and in the article in the The Sun.

Thanks Ian.

As Ian explains this error was covered in the Sun article, but at the very end, by an apology for the admin error and a statement from Whirlpool “If you have been charged, please contact us via ccns@whirlpool.com so we can arrange a refund as soon as possible.” Not something you’d necessarily know if you just read the headline “WASHED UP Whirlpool charged customers up to 72p per minute to call about fire-risk washing machines replacements and repairs. Beware the redtops.

If Whirlpool had not made a mistake, the article would not have been published.

Can we trust Whirlpool? After the questionable advice that customers could carry on using fire-risk dryers under supervision we have the advice that washing machines can carry on being used at low temperature cycles. I would like independent evidence that this is sensible advice.

It is interesting to note the varied approaches to the 0844 phone number issue that were taken by different campaigners.

One called on Whirlpool to comply with Ofcom regulations and state the call charges alongside the 0844 number, and to reveal how much they were making from the line.

The other advised Whirlpool that the premium rate 0844 line was operating in breach of BIS regulations, must be shut off, and that the law also required that anyone who had already called it must be refunded.

One approach was doomed to be ineffectual in solving the actual problem, the other got the required results.

While having a look to see if costly numbers were still in use online I kept finding links to this website, which will helpfully provide 084 numbers: http://www.contact-direct.co.uk

The “contact direct” website is very UNhelpful. It does not provide direct contact numbers set up by the organisation you are trying to contact.

In fact, it provides indirect “call connection service” premium rate 084 phone numbers set up by the people who run the “contact direct” website in order to earn themselves some money from any callers they can fool into calling these numbers.

It is a third-party scam website promoting it’s own phone numbers. These premium rate numbers merely forward calls onwards to the various other named organisations. It’s a scam. (Imagine an official looking person, with a badge and a uniform, stood outside your local supermarket charging everyone an entrance fee, and then promptly legging it when people realised it was just some random member of the public).

The Phone-paid Services Authority regulates these services, irrespective of whether they operate on 084, 087 or 09 numbers. These are fake phone numbers promoted on a scam website.

I see this on a par with those copycat websites that charge a fee for helping the unwary renew their passport or driving licence. I wonder how much money is made by fleecing the public.

“Contact-direct.co.uk
We understand how frustrating and time consuming it can be to search for company contact details.
Our website provides a call forwarding service via 0844 numbers together with a useful map. Calls to 0844 numbers are charged at 7 pence per minute plus network extras. Our dedicated team constantly check that the service we provide supplies the latest contact information available. To contact our number redirection service with any questions please call us on 0800 540 4344.

The site says it provides a service – for those who cannot, presumably, find the direct number, but that is not normally difficult – and it makes their charges clear. At least their own number is an 0800.

I do not think it is equivalent to a copycat website, just a service that most people do not need to use. If, when you searched for “Whirlpool contact direct telephone number” for instance, and this site popped up with an 0844 number, that would not be good, but it didn’t.

These numbers, and emails, can often be found in ceoemail.com, a service I have found most useful. They do, like Wiki, ask for donations to keep the service going. I wonder how many do make a contribution?