Faulty Whirlpool tumble dryers – what are your rights if you can’t get yours repaired?

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People who’ve bought certain models of Hotpoint, Creda, Indesit, Swan and Proline tumble dryers are being told they must wait months for a repair, after it emerged these tumble dryers could catch fire. And now Whirlpool says you mustn’t use them in the meantime.

Faulty Whirlpool tumble dryers 

It’s estimated that there are up to a million faulty Whirlpool tumble dryers in the UK. A parliamentary report says that urgent action is needed from Whirlpool to remove the faulty machines. Last year Whirlpool updated its advice to say that you shouldn’t use a faulty Hotpoint, Indesit or Creda tumble dryer if you’re waiting to get yours repaired. Previously, it said it was safe to use potentially faulty tumble dryer as long as you cleaned the fluff filter every time and didn’t use it overnight or while you were out.

What’s the problem with Whirlpool tumble dryers?

In November 2015, Whirlpool, which owns Hotpoint, Creda and Indesit, issued a product recall where it contacted millions of people who’d bought tumble dryers, offering a repair after it emerged that some dryers were at risk of catching fire. The potentially faulty tumble dryers were manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015. In February last year, Whirlpool said that thousands of Swan and Proline tumble dryers were also affected.

SAVVY TIP: Hotpoint, Creda and Indesit haven’t published a list of all the models that are affected, but a quick way to check is to look for a green dot on the inside of the tumble dryer door, on the opening (the dot should be near the top and near the seal) or on the information sticker on the back of the tumble dryer, your tumble dryer does NOT need to be repaired as it’s not affected.

You can check if your tumble dryer is affected (whether it’s a Credit, Hotpoint, Swan, Proline or Indesit model) on the Hotpoint website:

If you have a Swan tumble dryer, you can also find information on how to get in touch on its website.

You can see the original safety notice on the Hotpoint website

If you own an Indesit tumble dryer, you can see the Indesit safety notice on their website.

Delays to repairs

In March 2016 it emerged that people were being told they’d have to wait for nine months (until January 2017) before their tumble dryer could be repaired.

The Retail Ombudsman Chief Executive, Dean Dunham, has criticised Hotpoint for the delays in repairs, describing them as ‘completely unacceptable’. He says that the company should do far more, particularly for those who are vulnerable and who rely on their tumble dryer.

Fire service says don’t use your tumble dryer

Fire services in England and Wales have said that manufacturers should recall the faulty tumble dryers and not offer a repair. The Local Government Association, which represents 48 fire services, says that between 2012 and 2014 there were three fires a day being caused by faulty tumble dryers. London Fire Brigade says that people shouldn’t use one of these faulty tumble dryers – even if they use them carefully.

Faulty Whirlpool tumble dryers – your rights

If you can’t wait until your scheduled repair (and who could blame you if it’s months away?), you may be able to:

  • Get a replacement from the manufacturer
  • Get a replacement or repair from the retailer you bought the dryer from
  • Get a refund if you paid by credit card.

Getting a replacement from the manufacturer

Manufacturers don’t an obligation to ensure that products they make are problem free for years on end, but, in this case, the manufacturer has admitted there’s a potentially serious fault.

  • Hotpoint has offered replacement tumble dryers at discounted prices – either £59 (down from £219) or £99 (down from £299). However, some people have been offered a replacement completely free of charge, so there doesn’t seem to be a consistent approach.

SAVVY TIP: If you’ve bought your tumble dryer within the last few years and/or if you’ve been told you’ll have to wait for months for a repair, it’s definitely worth asking for a replacement free of charge. I can’t guarantee you’ll get it but you have nothing to lose.

Getting a replacement from the retailer

When you buy something, you’re protected by consumer rights. If you bought something after October 1st 2015, it’s the Consumer Rights Act, and if it was before then, it’s the Sale of Goods Act. This means that if the product you buy develops a fault, you may be able to get a refund, repair or replacement and, crucially, it’s the shop that’s responsible, not the manufacturer.

SAVVY TIP: You can read more about the Consumer Right Act and how you’re protected in my article entitled Faulty goods – there are new consumer rights from October 2015

In brief, these regulations say that anything you buy must be ‘of satisfactory quality’. You can take something back to the retailer up to six years after you bought it (five years in Scotland).

So, if you bought your tumble dryer within the last six years (five in Scotland), I’d recommend contacting the retailer and asking if you can have a replacement. You would have to show that the fault was there when you bought the tumble dryer, but that’s not difficult as Whirlpool have issued the product recall admitting the fault.

SAVVY TIP: The retailer is not obliged to give you your money back (it can offer a repair or replacement instead) and, if it did issue a refund, it could deduct some money to take account of the fact that you’ve had the use of the tumble dryer since you bought it.

Getting a refund from your credit card provider

If you paid for the tumble dryer by credit card, or you paid the deposit by credit card, you could contact your credit card provider and ask them for your money back. Under what’s called Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, they are jointly responsible (with the company you bought the goods from) if the goods don’t arrive, are faulty or aren’t as described.

In this case, as Hotpoint is offering to repair the washing machines (albeit with huge delays), your credit card provider could tell you it won’t look at your claim until and unless Hotpoint says it’s not going to do anything further. It may be still worth contacting your credit card provider and, if you’re not happy with what they’ve told you, you could take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

SAVVY TIP: Using your credit card doesn’t give you unlimited rights to claim against the credit card company, but in this case, as there was clearly a fault with some tumble dryers, you could make a claim.

What the manufacturer says about the delays

Hotpoint says it’s sorted out the problem for 400,000 customers (either by repairing their tumble dryer or offering a cut-price replacement). It says that repairs are being done on a first come, first served basis, but if you are registered disabled or ‘particularly vulnerable’ they will try and speed up the process for you.

Related articles:

What ombudsman schemes are there? Who can you complain to?

Understanding your credit card rights under section 75

10 scams to avoid – how to avoid telephone scams and other scams

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