A new investigation from Which? shows that, one year on from announcing the tumble dryer fire issue affecting millions across the UK, Whirlpool is still failing its affected customers.
We first investigated the Whirlpool tumble dryer safety issue in April this year and launched a second investigation in November 2016.
We found that one in five (22%) of the affected customers surveyed in April are still waiting for their machine to be repaired or replaced. A third (33%) of customers who had since had their dryer repaired or replaced, said they were dissatisfied with how the manufacturer had handled the situation.
You can find a full list of affected tumble dryers and advice on what to do if you are in possession of a faulty dryer
Which? Whirlpool tumble dryer investigation
Six in ten (62%) of those we surveyed for the first time in November 2016 who had decided to wait for a repair were concerned about using their tumble dryer.
One quarter (26%) of affected customers were told they would have to wait longer than six months for their tumble dryer to be repaired. One in five (22%) were told that the wait would be between three and six months.
In addition to affected customers being forced to wait far too long, we found Whirlpool giving a customer incorrect and potentially dangerous advice. Posing as customers with affected machines, we made 30 calls to the Whirlpool call centre and found:
- On one occasion, we were told that a machine was not affected, despite providing the call centre with a model number we knew to be affected. We were even told to throw away any letters we had received about the safety notice ‘in the rubbish’.
- On three occasions, we were told to contact the shop we had bought the machine from for a replacement.
- Affected customers are still facing long waits for customer ID numbers. A customer ID number needs to be issued before anything can happen in the repair or replacement process. Despite Whirlpool committing to reduce the waiting time for a customer ID number to 10 days, we found some call handlers quoting 6-12 weeks.
Which? managing director of home & legal services, Alex Neill, said: ‘It is absolutely unacceptable that, one year on, Whirlpool customers are still seeing slow, poor service and potentially receiving incorrect and dangerous advice. Its modification programme is clearly not progressing as fast as it should.
‘Following the devastating fire caused by a tumble dryer in Shepherd’s Bush earlier this year, Whirlpool cannot be allowed to continue letting consumers down. It must clean up its act and sort out this mess urgently.’
When we asked Whirlpool to comment on our findings, it said: ‘We urge everyone who owns an Indesit, Hotpoint or Creda dryer manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015 to check if their dryer is affected and then register for a free modification if it is. Customers can do this using the model checker on two bespoke websites we have created:
‘https://safety.hotpoint.eu/ and https://safety.indesit.eu/, or our dedicated freephone helpline on 0800 151 0905 for the UK, or 1800 804320 for Ireland.
‘The safety of consumers is our number one priority and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that the tumble dryer modification programme is carried out in a safe and timely manner.’