WHIRLPOOL has finally launched a recall scheme for up to 80,000 fire-risk tumble dryers after the government made an "unprecedented" move to force it into action.
It comes after more than 5million dryers required modifying in the wake of hundreds of fires. Here's the latest.
What is the problem with the tumble dryers?
The fault is apparently caused by excess fluff coming into contact with the heating element.
In November 2015, Whirlpool launched what it called a "modification" scheme to fix at-risk machines.
So far, it has modified 1.7million machines out of the 5.3million units manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015.
It's been four years since concerns were first raised over the safety of the machines.
Whirlpool say that 65,000 more machines have been either been replaced or modified since the notice was issued in July.
At the time, bosses said between 500,000 and 800,000 potentially dangerous tumble dryers could still be in people's homes.
It means that up to 735,000 faulty machines may still be being used.
The issue relates to more than 600 models of vented and condenser tumble dryers made by Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan and Proline – all part of the Whirlpool brand – between 2004 and 2015.
The fault is caused by excess fluff coming into contact with the heating element, which cause the machine to set alight.
Anyone with an affected dryer must unplug it immediately and stop using it and contact the manufacturer "as a matter of urgency".
Customers can choose to have their machine either replaced or have their existing machine modified.
Is your dryer on the faulty list?
HERE'S how to know if your dryer is on the faulty list:
Whirlpool, which owns the Hotpoint brands, says it has identified a potential concern with two types of tumble dryers manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015.
The affected brands are:
Non-affected machines will have a green sticker on the inside of the dryer door or reverse of the machine.
If your machine doesn't have a green sticker, you need to check if it's faulty. You can do this by locating the serial code and model number (found on the back of the dryer or on the back of the dryer door) and entering it onto the online checkers at safety.hotpoint.eu or safety.indesit.eu or safety-swan.eu.
Which dryers are at risk?
The potentially faulty machines come under the brand names of Creda, Hotpoint, Indesit, Proline and Swan.
They consist of vented and condenser tumble dryers made between April 2004 and September 2015.
It has released a full list on the Whirlpool website of the affected models.
Consumer group Which? has analysed the list and reckons there are a whopping 627 models in total – just over 300 of which it believes have been sold in the UK.
Neither Whirlpool or the government would tell The Sun how many affected models there are in total or how many were in the UK.
You can find the model number of your machine on the tag located either on the back of the dryer door or in the recess of the dryer door.
But you also need the serial number to check if your machine is affected – not just the model number. This should be on the same tag.
You can then use Whirlpool's online tool to check if your machine is affected. See the box above for more information.
What should I do if I think my tumble dryer is a fire risk?
If you do find that your machine is a risk, you should contact the company on 0800 151 0905 for the UK or 1800 804320 for Ireland.
You should also unplug the machine immediately until it's fixed or replaced.
Following government intervention, Whirlpool has now agreed to finally recall the up to 800,000 faulty tumble dryers that could catch fire, some four years after safety concerns were first raised.
As part of the recall, which starts on July 11, customers with these unmodified machines will be given four different options as follows:
- Free modification: A Whirlpool engineer will visit your home to carry out a free-of-charge safety upgrade. The appointment takes about an hour and you can schedule the engineer visit for a date and time that is convenient to you, including evenings and weekends.
- Free replacement: You can choose between a new vented or condenser dryer, provided free-of-charge.
- "Heavily discounted upgrade": You can return your affected dryer and upgrade to a "superior model" for what Whirlpool says will be a "fraction of the retail price". For example, it will cost £59 for a vented model or £99 for a condenser dryer. There are more than 10 models to choose from, which normally cost up to £349.
- Refund: You can return your affected dryer and receive a refund up to £150, although how much you'll get depends on the age of the appliance.
With all of these options, where necessary, Whirlpool says it will arrange free-of-charge collection and disposal of your old dryer.
If your dryer has already been replaced or modified by Whirlpool you don't need to do anything.
Is the modification safe?
In May 2019, the government's Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) concluded that the modification is "effective" and that customers who have had their tumble dryers modified can continue to use them safely.
This is despite the Whirlpool previously admitting that these machines are also a fire-risk.
Earlier this year, consumer group Which? revealed that it had spoken to 30 people who say their "fixed" tumble dryers have caught fire, produced smoke or the smell of burning.
What has Whirlpool said about the issue?
Jeff Noel, vice president of Whirlpool, said: “People’s safety is our top priority, which is why we are expanding this important campaign.
“We are committed to doing the right thing for our consumers and will continue to take every action possible to resolve this issue.
“The crucial message is please contact us immediately if you still own one of these tumble dryers and haven’t already had it modified or replaced by us.”
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