The manufacturer of more than 120 models of fire-risk tumble dryers knew about the danger these machines could pose for nearly three months before making the news public.
New Which? research can reveal that Whirlpool, the owner of the affected Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands, contacted trading standards to let it know about the problem on 27 August 2015. But it wasn’t until 23 November 2015 that news of the risk these dryers could pose was made public by Whirlpool. Proline and Swan dryers are also affected by the safety alert.
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Retailers not told of fire-risk for three months
It has been confirmed to us that retailers selling affected dryers were only told that some of their stock could pose a fire risk three months after the manufacturer raised its own concerns with trading standards.
The manufacturer stopped making fire-risk dryers in early September and changed the way the affected models were made so that all machines made from October 2015 onwards wouldn’t pose the same fire risk.
A Whirlpool spokesman told us that the safety of its customers is its number one priority, that it contacted some owners before 23 November and that it proactively and transparently engaged with trading standards at each step of the process. They went on to say: ‘We contacted retailers as soon as was practicable following the determination from trading standards that a modification program was necessary.’
We want Whirlpool to publish in full the model numbers for each of the affected dryers and to publicise the problem with newspaper and TV ads. If your dryer is affected by the safety alert, our advice is to not use it until it’s been serviced.