- 19th December 2016
- Posted by: Seatons Solicitors
- Category: Articles, Consumer Law
Fire chiefs from the London Fire Brigade have spoken out today to warn people of the dangers of faulty Whirlpool tumble dryers and state people should stop using them with immediate effect after one of the units was found to be responsible for a large fire which devastated a tower block.
The London Fire Brigade has renewed its campaign to make home electrical white goods safer after a "painstaking" investigation was launched into the cause of a fire in August which took place in an 18 storey tower block in Shepherd’s Bush. The fire was so intense it needed 120 firefighters to extinguish it.
It’s believed that a faulty Indesit brand tumble dryer was the reason for the fire and the parent company who make multiple brands of tumble dryers, Whirlpool, needs to change its advice that it is giving to customers so that affected tumble dryers that require the safety modification should not be used at all until they are fixed. Previous advice guidelines have been to continue usage but to never leave the drier unattended which is not practical or fool-proof.
Whirlpool manufactures Hotpoint, Creda and Indesit tumble driers and the affected models were produced between April 2004 and September 2015 which means there are approximately a staggering 5.3million units are subject to a safety notice about the risk of fire which appears to be caused by excess fluff and lint coming in contact with the heating element.
Dave Brown, the director of operations at the London Fire Brigade has said:
“Disappointingly, Whirlpool have still not changed their advice to consumers and following the conclusion of our investigation we are now appealing once again for them to change their advice to bring it in line with ours.”
Luckily in the tower block blaze in Shepherd’s Bush there were no serious injuries however there is a risk that there could be more serious consequences if the matter is not cleared up efficiently.
A representative of the consumer group Which?, Alex Neill, said: " London Fire Brigade's investigation into the Shepherd's Bush fire highlights the urgent need for the Government to review the Whirlpool case and set out how it is going to improve safety for affected customers."
Margot James, Consumer Minister, spoke out and said: "Customer safety must be the number one priority for manufacturers. I acknowledge that Whirlpool are making great efforts to modify and replace at-risk machines, but I believe additional action is required to reassure customers and the public. I will be writing to the company to set out my concerns and expectations.”
Whirlpool reiterated in a statement its previous advice to customers, which advises owners to check if their dryer is affected either online or by phone and then register for a modification kit if it is required.
"The success of the programme depends on as many customers as possible registering with us for a modification. Therefore, we urge everyone who owns an Indesit, Hotpoint or Creda tumble dryer manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015 to check if their dryer unit is affected and then register for a free modification if it is," they said.
Whirlpool also stated: "Our thoughts are with all those affected by the incident in Shepherd's Bush, London, in August 2016. While we understand that London Fire Brigade has concluded its investigation into the incident, Whirlpool's independent forensic investigations are still ongoing and, in the circumstances, it would be inappropriate to comment further.
Whirlpool urge their customers to check to see if their dryer is one of the affected models by using the model checker on two specialist web sites - https://safety.hotpoint.eu/ and https://safety.indesit.eu/ - Customers wishing to check by telephone can do so on a free helpline on 0800 151 0905 in the United Kingdom or on 1800 804320 in Ireland.
As a consumer, when you purchase an item, the law gives you rights that protect you if the item is faulty. You may also have further consumer rights depending on where you purchased the item and how you paid for it. If you have a consumer law issue then call us FREE on 0800 3 10 11 12 for a no obligation chat or contact us online today.