More than a million tumble dryers with a defect perceived to cause fires are believed to still be in British homes, it was reported and the media has led appeals for Whirlpool to take liability for 5.3 million dangerous machines marketed over a decade and connected to hundreds of fires.
However, the company revealed that only about half of the dangerous machines including Indesit and Hotpoint models had so far been fixed.
Pete Moorey, Head of campaigns for consumer group Which?, reported Whirlpool’s repair programme was far from adequate, adding that he thinks the fact that there could be 2 million of these machines estimated in people’s homes is especially disturbing.
Whirlpool head of communications Ian Moverley stated that a repair programme was the most effective way to deal with the fault and giving testimony to the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Mr Moverley stated the firm estimated around a million machines are still in circulation.
And questioned if he was happy with that amount, he replied that they will never be satisfied and the defect results in fluff in the machines catching fire and has caused hundreds of house fires after it was recognised in 2014.
The multi-million-pound electrical colossus owns the Indesit brand which firefighters state was liable for a fire that destroyed numerous stories of an 18-storey London tower block in August 2016 and the dryer that created the fire was awaiting repair, however, the owner had been notified it was safe to use as long as it was not left unattended.
Charlie Pugsley, the National Fire Chiefs Council’s head of investigations, informed the Committee he had taken the unusual action of corresponding with Whirlpool six months before the fire occurred, displaying concern over information that was being given to consumers.
He stated that consequently, regrettably, there were all these people displaced in what would certainly be viewed as a blunder because had the fire been at night time it could have been a whole different ballgame.
The firm was informed that the defect existed in 2014, but they did not prompt a proactive repair programme until 2015.
Whirlpool has further been informed of at least 20 fires since 2014 where the second blunder with a door mechanism was recognised as the likely reason and Whirlpool has not prompted a repair programme for that problem.
Furthermore, Committee chair Rachel Reeves slammed Whirlpool for sending their Head of Communications, who was incapable of responding to any questions from MPs, to give testimony to the committee rather than a senior manager.
She stated that they don’t expect time and again for their questions not to be given explanations and when a select committee directs someone to give testimony they expect someone to give evidence who can clarify the issues but Mr Moverley retained the firm’s approach to the repairs.
Evidently, it was a really large scale campaign and they took enormous strides and had fought remarkably arduously to guarantee that it is resolved as quickly as possible for their customers and a number of measures they took were hiring an extra 700 engineers that they trained and put into the field, increasing the call centre.
It’s shocking that despite acknowledging that there are one million possibly dangerous tumble dryers in people’s homes, Whirlpool is still declining to recall these machines freely.
Whirlpool should no longer disregard its liability for the safety of its consumers and should conduct a complete product recall and if it doesn’t then the Government should mediate and a spokesperson for Whirlpool stated that have proceeded to appeal to any outstanding owners of the affected models to contact Whirlpool promptly so they can modify their tumble dryers.
Supposedly, following two years of extended measures to boost awareness, the number of customers coming forward has now declined sharply. This implies that less affected machines remain in service.