Big name hire firms including Jewson and Hire Station (through Homebase) have removed tools we tested from their shelves after a Which? investigation revealed safety faults with their products.
Half of the 26 tools we hired from major companies and independent companies failed tests in our lab. The faults that we uncovered included:
- unearthed plugs
- worn and broken blades
- kitchen foil used as a fuse
- damaged wires
We sent researchers undercover to hire the tools from separate branches of Brandon, HSS, Jewson, Speedy, Travis Perkins as well as four independent hire shops. We also used Homebase’s telephone hire service to order four tools from its partner company, Hire Station.Only HSS hired out no tools with faults. Which? members can read the whole story here (pdf).
The faults we found could expose the user to an increased risk of starting a fire, being cut, scalded by leaking steam or receiving an electric shock. When we confronted the companies with our findings, most agreed to remove the tools we’d hired from the shelves to investigate further. Jewson and Hire Station (Homebase) also agreed to tighten their safety procedures. We reported those whose products concerned us most to trading standards officers.
The tools were tested in an independent laboratory for electrical and mechanical safety defects in accordance with the relevant British Standards and guidelines from The Institution of Engineering and Technology.
The full investigation, including the companies’ reactions, is published in the April edition of Which? magazine and subscribers can access it through this link.