All you need to know about product recalls

Tumble dryer situation

If you are looking for help with the tumble dryer situation please see Dodgy tumble dryers – your legal rights & what to do which will give you all the advice and laws you need to speed up engineers appointments and other redress.

When should a product be recalled?

Any product that could cause a safety risk must be recalled. Examples include food incorrectly labelled so may cause an allergy, a toy which is a choking hazard or a car that has a risk of catching fire.

The main responsibility falls on producers, manufacturers and importers to ensure that products are safe. More on the Government website here.

How should products be recalled?

The law states that manufacturers must do as much as is practicably possible to inform customers and they have to publish a notice in such form and such manner as is likely to bring to the attention of purchasers of the product the risk the product poses and the fact of the recall. Producers and distributors must inform their local authority (typically, the Trading Standards Department). Products are then placed on the Trading Standards recall list, but other things can be done as well, such as adverts in papers, contacting customers directly, putting information on websites etc.

There are also other product recall websites that allow you to search the most recent product recalls:

Electrical items Electrical Safety Council.
For car & vehicle recalls visit the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) government agency website
Food & drugs it’s the Food Standards Agency (FSA)

More on the Government website Check out your products online

What are the numbers of recalls?

The RPC undertook some research which found that UK product recalls jumped by 26% to a new high of 310 in 2014/15 from 245 in 2013/14. How many of those did you know about?! The number of food product recalls rose by 50%.

Is enough being done?

No in short. If you look at that list on the Trading Standards website you will see that at least one thing is added nearly every day and do we know about them? Nope.

What do Trading Standards say?

Leon Livermore, chief executive of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute when talking about the tumble dryer situation, told 5 Live Breakfast: “The fact that Trading Standards sit within local government means they’re often stretched for resources.

“Central government itself does have back up powers to force people into recalls and to take action. So we would call on the government, in particular the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to take action before someone dies.”

He added: “I think it’s indicative of how the UK views consumer issues. Trading standards services have seen cuts of over 50% over the last few years and actually there hasn’t been an outcry from the public because a lot of this stuff goes on in the background.” More on these cuts and empowering consumers here.

What are your legal rights?

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you are entitled to a full refund within 30 days after that time could be repair or replacement. If the item was bought after the 1st October, Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994.

The “General Product Safety Regulations 2005” dictates that manufacturers must make arrangements for the collection and/or return of the product for destruction from consumers who have purchased the product.

When a manufacturer issues a recall, they are effectively saying that they have identified issues with a number of goods produced from a specific batch on the production line. It does not automatically mean that the item in your possession is one of the problem items, however it is a warning and sometimes an offer of a modification is provided. It is not a legal requirement and the majority of times, a manufacturer will issue a recall to limit the number of negligence claims made against them.

What can consumers do?

Always register your electrical products. This means that it is easy for you to be contacted about any recall.

If you have concerns about the safety of a product you own, check the manufacturer’s website to see if a product recall has been issued.

Check the recall sites above.

Write to the CEO of companies use ceoemail.com to find contact details when you have a product that is faulty and you think may be a wider problem and suggest a product recall and suggest that they do far more than they currently do to recall items!

The Consumer Protection Act 1987 states that if you are harmed by an unsafe product you can sue. You can begin your court case up to three years from the date of the injury. In some cases, you can even sue up to ten years after the product was sold. If for instance you sustain a personal injury or damage to your property it is in this instance where the manufacturer is responsible not the trader. The value of the damage must be more than £275.

When a manufacturer issues a recall, they are effectively saying that they have identified issues with a number of goods produced from a specific batch on the production line. It does not automatically mean that the item in your possession is one the problem items. However, it is a warning and sometimes is an offer of a modification. It is not a legal requirement and the majority of times, a manufacturer will issue a recall to limit the number of negligence claims made against them.

Keep an eye on recall product lists, register for updates.

BBC Breakfast 15/03/16 Product recall

What about the tumble dryer situation?

These items still haven’t actually been recalled. Which is ridiculous. More on the current situation, your legal rights and what you can do to speed up your engineer visit Whirlpool – The tumble dryer story without the spin

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

For help with complaining about goods and services that haven’t been recalled see GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

Dodgy tumble dryers – your legal rights & what to do

Many people have what some of us might consider as dodgy tumble dryers and have asked what they should do if they think they are affected and how long is reasonable to wait. Please read this post before asking what you should do, the answers are here!

 

In April 2018 I published a report. This report outlines the whole story. It includes contradictions, results of Freedom of Information Requests to Government departments and Peterborough Trading Standards, London Fire Brigade statistics and recommendations, research and investigations. All in one place.

The tumble dryer story without the spin.

Download Whirlpool – the tumble dryer story without the spin

 

This post below was written in February 2016 and updated in March 2017. Please see the link above for much more and updated information on the story.

So what is going on?

Current situation
1) 113 different Hotpoint, Indesit or Creda tumble dryers have been recalled. However, it is not a full recall in that all machines are being replaced. The machines affected were manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015. Dryers affected could pose a fire risk if fluff should come into contact with the heating element. 750 fires involving Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda tumble dryers have been reported since 2004, including three injuries. Update 12th March 2017 On the 23rd February Whirlpool has now amended advice and says to unplug and not use machine. It has still stopped short of a full recall. New advice.

2) Despite the potential risk, Whirpool has said the dryers are safe to use following precautions, such as not leaving the tumble dryer on when asleep, not leaving the house when it is on, cleaning the lint filter after every use, and  ensure proper venting

3) Whirpool will send an engineer to check your tumble dryer and have said it will be a 6 – 8 week wait, alternatively they are telling some people that they have to wait until June because they are still recruiting engineers! Update in March now saying 3 weeks to get a call back and wait could be up to 10 months! Given how long everyone involved in this fiasco has known about the issues this is not good enough and in my humble opinion not a good enough reason for delay should you take the matter to court.

4) Trading Standards calls for a full product recall before someone dies.

5) As of end February 2017 Whirlpool has finally changed its advice and said unplug and do not use.

What you should do if you think you are affected
1) If your tumble dryer is not affected there will be a green dot sticker insider the dryer either on the door, rim or back panel. Look for a green dot sticker inside the dryer either on the door itself or on the rim.

2) You may want to not use your tumble dryer despite Whirpool’s advice. After all, do you think it’s ok if it catches fire just because you are in the house?! I don’t!

3) Check to see if your appliances are affected. Hotpoint and Creda tumble dryers can be checked on the safety.hotpoint.eu website and Indesit ones here safety.indesit.eu Which? also uncovered the models affected and you can find the list here.

4) Contact the company and arrange for your service. Log all your calls, length or time on the phone and costs involved as you are due redress for this.

5) People are really struggling when ‘phoning to get the service sorted. I would advise putting your request in writing see here for why.

6) Check with your insurance company as to whether you are covered if your tumble dryer were to catch fire even if you were following the guidelines about sill being able to use it. If not, then use this information in your complaint/claim. Although, please also see point 6 below!

Your rights and what you can do if not happy with your situation
1) The affected tumble dryers were manufactured before October 1st 2015 and therefore, if bought prior to October 1st 2015 are covered by the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994. You are entitled to purchases that are fit for purpose and are of satisfactory quality. Whilst I agree that for you to be covered by this law, you should follow maintenance guidelines in the handbook, you should be able to put the machine on like you would a washing machine and dishwasher when you are asleep or out of the house! The affected tumble dryers are therefore not fit for purpose and not of satisfactory quality. Any products bought after 1st October 2015 are covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

2) Under the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 or Consumer Rights Act 2015 you are entitled to a refund, repair or replacement. the company can legitimately charge you something towards a new machine as it can deduct an amount for use (after 6 months in the case of the CRA). You can argue how much this should be because if they are charging £99 for a replacement to a family of 4 who have used it for 3 years they should not be able to charge the same for a single person who has had the machine for a year! Some months have now gone by and you will only be entitled to a repair or replacement. The company says it will “modify” the appliance, so one assumes that this is the repair. Some people are getting a free replacement when they assert their legal rights and what they expect! Your rights are as with any other item, one chance at repair is enough before demanding replacement or partial refund.

3) If you stop using the machine because you deem it unsafe (and if the engineer carries out modifications then there is your proof that it was!) you are entitled to your out of pocket expenses. So if you go to the launderette for example, you are entitled to these costs plus cost of going there e.g. public transport/petrol. Update 12th March 2017 Whirlpool have now said unplug and do not use the machine.

4) Do not waste much time ranting on social media. The social media teams will be dealing social media simples! So many people are affected that you will be one of many and your case will not rise above another unless you get lucky. A few people have been lucky this way, most haven’t.

5) If you think the time to wait is too long, or you have been kept waiting longer than they advised or you want to claim, then go straight to the top. Go to ceoemail.com and contact the CEO outlining the issues and use the Tips for effective complaining here and the bestselling book which has more advice and templates here. State that you want a replacement or engineer appointment brought forward.

6) The Consumer Protection Act 1987 states that if you are harmed by an unsafe product you can sue the manufacturer. You can begin your court case up to three years from the date of the injury. In some cases, you can even sue up to ten years after the product was sold. If for instance you sustain a personal injury or damage to your property. The value of the damage must be more than £275.

7) Your contract normally is with the company to whom you paid the money; however, as the manufacturer has admitted fault your correspondence should be with them as in this case the manufacturer is responsible not the trader. But you could also contact the retailer and request a replacement or repair, you may find that a good retailer will also act on your behalf and get your engineer out to you quicker, or offer a refund. If you find the retailer unhelpful you can also go to the Furniture Ombudsman if the retailer is a member.

8) The “General Product Safety Regulations 2005” dictates that manufacturers must make arrangements for the collection and/or return of the product for destruction from consumers who have purchased the product.

9) If you bought the dryer on your credit card you can also use the Consumer Credit Act 1974 Section 75 as it is equally liable and it should give you a refund.

10) If you are given a replacement machine or parts that develop a fault your rights remain and see 1, 2 and 3 and links within above. Remember consumer rights always override a warranty.

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

11) See Tips for how to write that complaint and many others: How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! for more help advice, templates for complaining effectively. 

 

 

 

 

Things still wrong after replacement or modification
Some people are getting in contact to say that they have had the repair or paid the £99 and had a new machine but still have problems. This is what you should do:

1)  Contact them in writing. Most important that you have it in writing as evidence. Give details of date of repair (and all the issues getting to that point if it wasn’t straightforward) and that it is not working properly. Give details of the issue. State that as you have given them a chance under the appropriate law (see above) you are entitled to a replacement. They may still argue for for repairing again. Your choice may well then be between taking one more try or to carry on fighting through the Small Claims Court. See Tips for how you should write your email and what to include.

2) If you have paid the £99 for the replacement you have in effect entered into a new contract under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. As such, if you have had it less than 30 days you are entitled to a refund, repair or replacement. After this time it is a repair or a replacement. Again, follow the tips for how to write the email and what to include.

3) If you have tried 1 and 2 above or are in the process please email me!

BBC article 11/03/16 Danger dryers in 11-month repair wait

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