It could take Whirlpool more than three-and-a-half years to service and modify all of its fire-risk vented and condenser tumble dryers, new Which? research can reveal.
With owners of fire-risk dryers already being told to get in line and wait up to 10 months for their machines to be serviced, it’s emerged that it could take Whirlpool several years to service the almost four million machines it says are still in UK homes.
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Millions of fire-risk tumble dryers in UK homes
5.3 million fire-risk dryers were sold to UK consumers between 2004 and 2015, made up of 127 models from Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan and Proline.
Parent company Whirlpool hasn’t released the names of the 127 machines, and is instead asking customers to check online or call to find out if your dryer poses a fire risk. But even once you find out your machine is at risk, you could be in for a long wait for a repair.
Whirlpool told us that its engineers are modifying 4,300 tumble dryers per day, have resolved 310,000 cases so far. It says that 1.4 million customers have registered to have their machines serviced and it has contacted 3.5 million customers. Whirlpool also says that, by its calculations, well over one million of the 5.3 million fire-risk dryers would have already been replaced or taken out of service, ‘in line with industry wide obsolescence rates’ since 2004.
That leaves around four million fire-risk dryers in UK homes.
Using this figure, we’ve calculated that if Whirlpool engineers worked Monday to Friday repairing machines at the current rate, it would take them more than three-and-a-half years to fix every fire-risk machine in the UK.
Even working seven days a week, it would take more than two-and-a-half years.
In response to our figures, Whirlpool told us: ‘As the modification programme progresses, we continue to recruit and train more engineers. Therefore the actual figure will be lower.’
What you can do if you own a fire-risk dryer
If your dryer has a green dot sticker on the back panel, inside the door or on the door rim, it will be a newly produced machine and not affected. If there’s no green dot sticker, it might need to be modified – call 0800 1510905 or go to safety.hotpoint.eu (for Hotpoint, Creda and Proline) safety.indesit.eu or safety-swan.eu to register for a modification.
We want Whirlpool to publish the model numbers for each of the affected dryers to make it clear to consumers which products pose a fire-risk. If your dryer is affected by the safety alert, our advice is to not use it until it’s been serviced.
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