The government announced yesterday that it’s told Whirlpool that it intends issue it with a recall notice. What do you need to know about the Whirlpool tumble dryer recall?
Whirlpool tumble dryer recall
Whirlpool hasn’t yet issued the recall notice for its tumble dryers. But the latest stage is that the government has told it that it intends to force Whirlpool to recall faulty tumble dryers.
Back in November 2015, Whirlpool, which owns Hotpoint, Creda and Indesit, contacted a million of its customer who’d bought certain Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan or Proline tumble dryers. Over five million tumbledryers were sold by the Whirlpool brands, and a million are – or were – potentially faulty. Whirlpool offered 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.
SAVVY TIP: Hotpoint, Creda, Indesit, Swan and Proline 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. It should be positioned on the opening (near the top and near the seal) or on the information sticker on the back of the tumble dryer. If your tumble dryer has a green dot, Whirlpool says it does NOT need to be repaired as it’s not affected.
The recall notice that the government says it will use to force Whirlpool to recall faulty tumble dryers only affects tumble dryers that haven’t been modified. However, it will still apply to between 300,000 and 500,000 tumble dryers. If your tumble dryer has already been modified by Whirlpool, you won’t be affected by the recall notice. Here’s the link to Whirlpool’s website where you can check whether your tumble dryer is potentially faulty and find out what to do next.
Delays to repair programme
Whirlpool’s repair programme was plagued with delays, with many thousands of people being told they would have to wait months before their tumble dryer could be repaired. In the meantime, Whirlpool said that the faulty tumble dryers were safe to use as long as people emptied the filter every time they used it, were in the house when the tumble dryer was being used and were not asleep at the time (!).
However, after a campaign by London Fire Brigade (after a fire was caused by faulty Indesit tumble dryer), that advice was changed. In 2017, Whirlpool told customers to unplug their tumble dryer if it had not yet been modified. But some say this didn’t go far enough from a safety point of view and said that people shouldn’t be told to use tumble dryers that could catch fire. I wholeheartedly agreed with this criticism. Why would you allow your customers to risk a fire at their home, by using a tumble dryer that could be faulty.
You can read about the London Fire Brigade campaign for a recall by Whirlpool on its website.
The news that the government is going to force Whirlpool to recall its faulty tumble dryers came out in a statement made by Kelly Tolhurst, who’s the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility. I’ve asked the government for more detail about the recall notice and I’ll update this article when I get a response. I’ve also asked Whirlpool for information and advice for its customers. This is what they told me:
“Safety is our number one priority and we remain committed to resolving any affected tumble dryers that have not yet been modified. To this end, we are in ongoing discussions with the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) to agree additional measures we have proposed to reach consumers who have not yet engaged with this safety programme.
We have cooperated with OPSS throughout its recent review of the programme and welcome its findings that consumers whose tumble dryers have been modified can continue to use them safely.
The crucial message to anyone who still owns an affected dryer and has not already had it modified by Whirlpool is to contact us immediately on 0800 151 0905, or visit https://safety.hotpoint.eu/, https://safety.indesit.eu/ or https://safety-swan.eu . In the meantime, anyone with an affected dryer that has not been modified should unplug it and not use it until the modification has been completed.”
Here’s a link to the information that Whirlpool has published on its website.
What about modified tumble dryers?
Some consumer programmes such as BBC Watchdog and organisations such as Which? said that some tumble dryers that had been repaired were still faulty. In May, a government body called the Office for Product Safety and Standards published a report in which it said that the risk of fire caused by modified tumble dryers was low. However, it was pretty critical of Whirlpool in terms of the way it’s communicated with its customers. You can read a short version of its report here.
Yesterday, the parliamentary Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee criticised the government’s decision to only make Whirlpool recall tumble dryers that have not been modified. Rachel Reeves, the committee’s chairman said:
“Finally, over a year since we called for a recall of defective machines and 18 months since the BEIS Committee reported on Whirlpool’s inadequate response to safety flaws, the Government is at last showing some teeth and taking long overdue action on Whirlpool.
“The company’s modification of defective machines has proceeded at snail’s pace, leaving up to half a million unmodified and potentially unsafe tumble dryers still in people’s homes. It’s not clear what has prompted this belated recall announcement – the Government need to set out why they have taken this action and how they meet ongoing concerns about those machines which have been modified. Whirlpool have consistently sought to downplay the seriousness of these safety issues. Whirlpool have too often treated this sorry saga as a PR matter, apparently seeking to put commercial considerations before customer safety. The BEIS Committee will expect a full explanation of their actions when Whirlpool appear before us in July”.
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