Survey to ask customers about their concerns over Whirpool
The survey is launched ahead of a BEIS Committee evidence hearing on Tuesday 23rd July with Kelly Tolhurst, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, and the Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).
Questions around Whirlpool’s handling of customer complaints, the safety of the modification to defective machines, and concerns about the use of confidentiality clauses or Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) were raised during the BEIS Committee’s recent evidence hearing (on 2nd July) with senior Whirlpool representatives and a panel of witnesses including Jemma Spurr, a Whirlpool customer, and Which?, London Fire Brigade, and Electrical Safety First.
Rachel Reeves, Chair of the BEIS Committee, has also written to Whirlpool to press the company on a number of issues regarding their handling of the modification to defective machines, their approach to customer complaints, and the extent of their use of NDAs or confidentiality clauses. This correspondence was sent prior to the announcement of a recall of non-modified machines.
Whirlpool has confirmed that they or their third-party insurers use confidentiality clauses as part of settlements with customers though they are on public record as telling the Committee that they have not enforced them and would not if customers shared product safety information with a regulator or the BEIS Committee.
While the BEIS Committee will not be able to investigate individual cases, the Committee is keen to hear from Whirlpool customers, and those who have bought Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Proline or Swan tumble dryers, about problems they may have experienced with their machines. The Committee would also like to hear from Whirlpool consumers who may have been approached to sign confidentiality clauses or Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) in cases where compensation was paid because of a tumble dryer fire.
The Committee is keen to gather information on whether customers have experienced fires or smoke caused by their modified tumble dryers and if they have signed NDAs, confidentiality clauses or similar legal agreements with Whirlpool or insurers acting on their behalf.
Questions in the online survey
• Have you experienced a fire with a modified Whirlpool tumble dryer?
• Have you experienced smoke coming from a modified Whirlpool tumble dryer?
• Have you signed an agreement with Whirlpool resulting from a fire with your modified tumble dryer catching fire which sought to stop you from discussing this incident?
Alternatively, customers can email email@example.com with information regarding their Whirlpool dryers.