Recall Whirlpool tumble dryers, say MPs

MPs have demanded that Whirlpool recall their tumble dryers after a defect in the appliance was found to be a potentially deadly fire hazard.

Rachel Reeves, the Labour MP and Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said that Whirlpool “continue to refuse to take proper responsibility” and a full recall should be ordered to ensure any issues are resolved.

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Since 2004 at least 750 fires are thought to have been connected to Whirlpool tumble dryers as fluff caught in the machines can catch fire once in contact with the heating element, including a fire believed to be caused by a faulty door mechanism which killed two men in Llanrwst, North Wales.

The risk applies to older dryers sold under the Hotpoint, Creda, Indesit, ProLine and Swan brands too.

A potential recall would see at least a million Whirlpool tumble dryers being returned.

Reeves has now written to Andrew Griffiths, the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, urging him to ensure the Office for Product Safety and Standards intervenes.

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"Whirlpool continue to refuse to take proper responsibility for defects in their tumble dryers, leaving many people still in the frightening situation where machines are acting as potential fire hazards in their own homes,” said Reeves.

Safety concerns

“Concerns about safety issues with modified Whirlpool machines and erroneous safety advice are a cause for further alarm.”

“When a company is failing to take adequate responsibility, we need the Government to step in and ensure consumers get the protection they deserve. Given the woeful paucity of Whirlpool’s actions to remedy this situation, the Office for Product Safety and Standards must now act and consider a full recall of defective machines to ensure this national product safety issue is resolved."

Although Whirlpool have been replacing or repairing an estimated 3.8 million tumble dryers in the UK since identifying defects in 2015, a full recall was not issued and a number of the new machines have also reportedly gone up in smoke.

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A spokesperson for the US based firm, Whirlpool, said: “Nothing matters more to us than people’s safety, which is why we proactively raised this product safety issue in 2015 and have worked diligently and responsibly to resolve it.

“The scale of this campaign has been unprecedented as we have achieved a resolution rate more than three times the industry average for a product recall. We have provided resolutions to all consumers who have registered, and resolved over 1.7 million affected tumble dryers.

"Total confidence"

“We have total confidence in the modification, it was extensively tested before and after being implemented, and there have been no incidents where it has shown to be ineffective.

“An external review with the input from three independent experts in fire safety, product safety, and engineering, concluded that the modification remains the most effective way of rectifying this issue for consumers.

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“Recent criticisms of the effectiveness of the modification are based on fundamental technical misunderstandings of what it addresses.

“We have cooperated with Trading Standards and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) at every stage of the campaign. Trading Standards confirmed, following an internal review by independent experts, that the modification programme remains the most effective way of resolving this issue.

“We are concerned that misinformed criticisms risk discouraging consumers from registering for this important safety modification.

"We continue to urge consumers to contact us immediately if they believe they still own an affected appliance. We can assure consumers that if they contact us now, they can receive a resolution within one week.

To contact Whirlpool for further safety notices please call 0344 822 4224.