The Government orders full Whirlpool tumble dryer recall – at last!

The end of the spin cycle?

Today (12 June 2019) The Consumer Minister, Kelly Tolhurst, announced that the Government intends to serve Whirlpool with a full recall notice for all tumble dryers that are at risk of fire. She told the House of Commons that “consumer safety is a priority for the Government”. History would say otherwise, in my opinion.

This decision comes after many years of fire outbreaks caused by faulty Whirlpool products and continual efforts by consumer organisations and individuals fighting to get the company to carry out a full recall. Some 750 fires have been reported involving Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda tumble dryers during the period 2004 and 2018, including three injuries.

On 23 November 2015 Whirlpool issued a warning regarding 113 different models of their tumble dryers due to the risk of fire. This risk was caused by fluff coming into contact with a heating element. All machines affected were manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015.

Models from Hotpoint, Indesit or Creda were recalled by the firm Whirlpool, which now owns all these companies. However, it was not a full recall which would have caused all machines to be replaced. Instead, the recall, such as it was, involved an engineer visit to each affected appliance.

Despite the potential risk of fire, Whirlpool claimed that the dryers were safe to use following precautions, such as not leaving the tumble dryer on when owners are asleep, not leaving the house when the dryer is on, cleaning the lint filter after every use, and ensuring proper venting.

Whirlpool amended its advice in late February 2017 and told affected customers to unplug and not use the machine. Yet, even then, it still stopped short of a full recall.

Out of the 5 million tumble dryers affected Whirlpool assumed that many of these would now be out of use due to their age. As of May 2017, 1.5 million consumers had registered as a result of the recall and the company has carried out the necessary modifications on more than 1.3 million of these machines.

The Which? article Whirlpool facing recall notice over fire-risk tumble dryers points out that:

“The government’s announcement today follows the publication of the Office for Product Safety and Standards report into Whirlpool dryer
fires in April 2019.

This report was labelled as, ‘fundamentally flawed and appearing to favour Whirlpool’s interests over people’s safety’ by Which?.

It came just months after we revealed that more than 30 owners of modified fire-risk dryers had experienced fires, smoke or burning
smells
.”

Details of how the recall will work are still to be clarified, together with information on what will happen to the millions of machines that have been “modified”, especially when there have been reports of further fires, smoke and smoke.

Fire Whirlpool The tumble dryer story without the spin

Whirlpool – the tumble dryer story without the spin. This report outlines what happened up until April 2018. It includes details of apparent contradictions in advice provided by Whirlpool, 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.

 

 

 

 

BBC Breakfast 15/03/16 Product recall

 

What is a warranty, what is a guarantee and what are my consumer rights?

The differences with warranties, guarantees and consumer rights

People get muddled between these three things. Rarely do you need a warranty, however, there are situations where you may choose to buy a warranty.

Consumer rights

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that items must be of satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable length of time. You have these rights for six years in England and Wales or five years in Scotland.

Items must be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose as described and last a reasonable length of time. So, for example, if you have bought a washing machine and it breaks after two years you should still be able to claim. However a consumer is expected to use the appliance reasonably. For example, a washing machine may be expected to be used a few times a week. It will show if it has been used every day twice a day for two years and this may be considered unreasonable and you would not get a repair or replacement.

You should familiarise yourself with the Consumer Rights Act 2015 before paying for any warranty being offered.

It is worth stating I have never paid for or used a warranty. I always assert my legal rights.

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

 

Should you need more help with your legal rights explore the blog and get the book packed full of information, tips, guidance, laws and regulations and templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

Warranties

When you are offered a paid for warranty, check what is included. It should be more than your consumer rights, as shown above. You may feel that it is worth expenditure buying a warranty if you look at it as a type of insurance (as in the washing machine example). This is different to your consumer rights.

For example, a television should, without doubt, last more than three years. So should you buy one of those paid for warranties for a telly? Don’t bother, the CRA will always be better and using the law is free!

Cars are a complicated one! More advice on a warranty for cars on the Motor Ombudsman site here.

Guarantees

If you buy an item that comes with a lifetime guarantee, great. This provides you with more than your consumer rights because if the item breaks after six years you would not be able to go to the Small Claims Court. However, you can go back to the manufacturer and say under the guarantee this hasn’t lasted, I want my refund or replacement, depending on what the guarantee states.

If the guarantee says the company will replace the product within two years if it breaks, ignore it. If the item was expected, reasonably, to last longer than two years then your consumer rights are better than the guarantee and you should take the item back to the retailer, not the manufacturer.

Warranty Guarantee consumer rights what you need to know down one side picture of tv the other side