Whirlpool failing to take responsibility for tackling dangerous tumble dryers

27 April 2018

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee, calls on Whirlpool to provide clear answers on what they are doing to resolve the risk posed by up to a million faulty tumble dryers in homes across the country.

Whirlpool should take urgent action

The BEIS Committee report on the safety of electrical goods in the UK in January demanded Whirlpool take urgent action to address the problems that had led to at least 750 fires since 2004. The firm pledged to resolve issues with the defective machines within one week.

However, Whirlpool correspondence (PDF PDF 1.39 MB) to the BEIS Committee published today gives little indication of how many customers have had their cases resolved within this timescale.

The Whirlpool correspondence also indicates that the company are investigating potential problems with modified tumble dryers.  Alongside the letter, the BEIS Committee have also published today Whirlpool's response to an inquest into a fire that killed two men in Llanwrst, North Wales where they point the blame towards spontaneously combusting tea-towels rather than problems with their own tumble-dryers.

Woeful response to discovery of defects

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said:

"Whirlpool's initial response to the discovery of defects in their tumble dryers was woeful. Their ongoing efforts to PR spin their way out of responsibility is simply shameful.

Whirlpool have repeatedly failed to spell out how many people they have helped within their stated one-week deadline, leaving far too many people still in the unacceptable situation where machines are acting as potential fire hazards in their homes. 
Rather than taking responsibility to address a fault identified by an inquest as the cause of a deadly fire in Llanrwst, Whirlpool are suggesting that spontaneously combusting tea-towels provide a better explanation for this tragic event.

Customers trusting in Whirlpool brands will be shocked at this level of corporate irresponsibility. Whirlpool need to provide proper answers on what they are doing to fix these issues and quickly resolve their investigation into safety problems with modified tumble dryers.

If Whirlpool fail to act, we should expect the Government's Office for Product Safety and Standards to take steps to deliver on its promise to ensure consumer safety".

Tumble dryer door fault led to deaths of two men

An Assistant Coroner ruled that a fault involving the door mechanisms of some of Whirlpool's tumble dryers led to a fire that killed two men in Llanwrst, and demanded that Whirlpool take corrective action.

In Whirlpool's response to the inquest, published today, they fail to address the issue of the door mechanism and suggest that spontaneously combusting tea-towels may be a factor.

Further information

Image: Creative Commons

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