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Whirlpool to issue recall of unmodified tumble dryers from consumers’ homes

Last month, the Government said it would issue a recall notice for 500,000 dryers that could potentially be a fire risk.

According to current advice, owners of unmodified, affected tumble dryers should unplug and contact Whirlpool (Yui Mok/PA)
According to current advice, owners of unmodified, affected tumble dryers should unplug and contact Whirlpool (Yui Mok/PA)

Whirlpool is to issue a recall of tumble dryers not yet modified from consumers’ homes, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has announced.

Last month, the Government said it would issue a recall notice for 500,000 dryers that could potentially be a fire risk.

Under the recall, consumers with an unmodified, affected tumble dryer will be entitled to a new replacement machine. This will be delivered and installed, with the old one removed, all at no cost.

The OPSS said Whirlpool had also agreed to deliver wide ranging publicity of the product recall aimed at reaching affected consumers and driving up awareness, guarantee no charges for delivery, installation or removal of machines and provide the OPSS with “timely” reporting of progress.

According to current advice, owners of unmodified, affected tumble dryers should unplug and contact Whirlpool.

Consumer Affairs Minister Kelly Tolhurst said: “The UK has some of the toughest consumer protection laws in the world. Our intervention demonstrates that we will take all the necessary steps to keep consumers safe.

“I want to reassure consumers that we are doing everything to ensure consumers with unmodified machines are made aware and have their tumble dryer replaced.

“Consumers with an unmodified machine should contact Whirlpool to arrange a free replacement.”

Jeff Noel, vice president of communications and public affairs at Whirlpool Corporation, said: “Safety is Whirlpool’s top priority. That’s why we have been working with the Government for some time to reach today’s agreement to launch an enhanced campaign that will offer customers who own a tumble dryer that has yet to be modified to the highest safety and quality standards the opportunity to have it replaced free of charge.

“We’ve always put customer safety first, that’s why we voluntarily approached Trading Standards immediately after we purchased Indesit in 2015 and became aware of a potential concern with two types of tumble dryers manufactured between 2004 and 2015.

“The extended recall programme announced today will offer consumers several options that include replacement, deeply discounted exchange as well as flexible free of charge in home modification that has been available since 2015. We urge consumers with unmodified dryers to contact us on 0800 151 0905 or visit our websites.”

The announcement follows Whirlpool admitting to MPs last week that the number of faulty tumble-dryers in homes across the country could be far higher than first thought.

We have serious doubts about Whirlpool’s ability to urgently get these faulty machines out of people’s homes Sue Davies, Which?

Executives from the company told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that the true number could be 800,000 and it was working hard to modify those affected.

Whirlpool also revealed that in recent years, it had logged 54 fires in its tumble dryers and admitted that three of those were models that had already been updated.

MPs were taking evidence over the scandal that has seen 1.7 million products modified.

One witness Jemma Spurr, a victim whose modified dryer caught fire, told politicians she was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement about the incident, which MPs said was used for “shutting people up”.

She was given an apology by Whirlpool’s communications chief Jeff Noel. Turning to Ms Spurr, he said: “I apologise to you for whatever distress this situation has caused to you, to your family, to your loved ones and your neighbours.”

Ashley Martin, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “We urge consumers who think they may have one of the affected models to engage with the recall process because it is so important that these dryers are removed from homes.

“As well as those who have bought their own tumble dryers, we would urge landlords and anyone else who has provided a tumble dryer for use by others to urgently check whether their dryer is affected.”

Sue Davies, from consumer group Which?, said: “We have serious doubts about Whirlpool’s ability to urgently get these faulty machines out of people’s homes given the company’s history of dragging its heels and its failure to find hundreds of thousands of machines that could still be in circulation almost four years on.

“It is critical that the Government closely oversees this long overdue recall and definitively establishes the safety of modified machines, which the company has acknowledged have also caught fire, if they are to be offered as replacements.”

PA

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