Whirlpool has announced today it is preparing to recall up to 519,000 Hotpoint and Indesit washing machines.
The machines are being recalled owing to a fault with the door lock, which results in them posing a fire risk.
The recall covers models manufactured between October 2014 and February 2018.
Owners of washing machines from Indesit and Hotpoint purchased since 2014 are urged to contact Whirlpool immediately to check if their washing machine is one of the affected models.
The advice to consumers with an affected machine is to stop using it immediately, unplug it and register with Whirlpool for a free replacement machine or a free-of-charge in-home repair of their existing appliance.
Is my washing machine at risk?
Owners of washing machines from Indesit and Hotpoint purchased since 2014 are urged to contact Whirlpool immediately to check if they have one of the affected models. You do this via an online checker tool where you’ll also register to receive a replacement.
As the web page issued by Whirlpool seems to have been experiencing some technical difficulties and you might have trouble reaching it, you can take a look at the list below to see if your Hotpoint or Indesit washing machine is affected by the recall.
The list has been provided by Whirlpool and includes 42 models made up of 39 from Hotpoint and three from Indesit.
We are experiencing technical problems with our website and customer service hotline, and are working to fix the issues as soon as possible. We will let you know as soon as they are live again. Please find affected model numbers below. Our sincere apologies for the inconvenience.
— Whirlpool UK (@WhirlpoolUK) 17 December 2019
Do you have one of these machines? Have you been able to get in touch with Whirlpool? Tell us your story
A fault inside the door was responsible for a Hotpoint tumble dryer fire in Llanwrst, Denbighshire in Oct 2014 that killed two men. At the inquest, in September 2017, the coroner stated that on the balance of probabilities the fire was caused by an electrical fault inside the door of the Hotpoint tumble dryer, a brand owned by Whirlpool.
What’s the issue with the recalled washing machines?
The safety issue concerns the door lock system on certain models, Whirlpool says in a press statement issued today.
The manufacturer goes on to explain that when the heating element in the washing machine is activated, in very rare cases a component in the door lock system can overheat, which can pose a risk of fire.
Whirlpool’s advice to owners of its fire-risk washing machines
Whirlpool is advising owners of its fire-risk washing machines to:
- Check whether their washing machine is affected by calling 0800 316 1442 or checking online. The phone line will be open seven days a week.
- Avoid all risk associated with the affected models by unplugging their washing machines and not using them. But Whirlpool also says if the appliance continues to be used, it should only be with cold water cycles of 20°C or lower as this significantly reduces risk.
Owners of affected washing machines will be offered either a free like-for-like replacement washing machine or a free repair.
Whirlpool hasn’t yet confirmed whether refunds will be provided for affected customers.
Full details of the implementation of these remedy options will be provided in early January.
No serious injuries, says Whirlpool
The total number of fires caused by these washing machines hasn’t been revealed by Whirlpool at the time of writing. But the manufacturer has confirmed that it had carried out its own risk assessment following several breach fires. A breach fire is one that isn’t contained within the machine itself.
Whirlpool has said that no serious injuries have been reported.
No washing machine for Christmas
Sue Davies, Which? strategic policy adviser, said: ‘This safety alert will cause huge disruption for millions of people who will have no washing machine over Christmas, and following the tumble dryer scandal, leaves Whirlpool’s reputation as a company that can be trusted on product safety in tatters.
‘People will rightly be asking what Whirlpool knew about these fire-risk machines and when, so there must now be a thorough investigation into this public safety issue. We know the company has a track record for appearing to put corporate reputation ahead of public safety in its disgraceful handling of the unsafe tumble dryer crisis.
‘Customers will be hugely frustrated that this recall is not set to start for weeks and that they’re not being offered refunds for machines from a brand they may no longer want to have in their homes.
‘This ongoing saga with Whirlpool demonstrates once again that our product safety system is not fit for purpose and that the OPSS (Office for Product Safety and Standards) should be replaced with a new independent product safety regulator with real powers to finally hold companies to account over dangerous products.’
Adam French, Which? consumer rights editor, says: ‘Which? expects that you will be able to claim any out-of-pocket expenses you’ve had as a result of not being able to use your machine from Whirlpool or the retailer that sold it to you – as long as those expenses are “reasonable and foreseeable”.
‘For example, any launderette charges you’ve paid while waiting for a fix are foreseeable and you can make a claim.’
Second Whirlpool recall in five months
Today’s announcement comes just five months after Whirlpool issued a recall for what some estimates put at up to 800,000 fire-risk tumble dryers.
That action came more than three and a half years after Whirlpool first admitted that it had a fire problem with vented and condenser dryers, branded Creda, Hotpoint, Indesit, Proline and Swan, made between April 2004 and October 2015.
MPs criticise Whirlpool approach to customer safety
In November, MPs criticised Whirlpool’s approach to customer safety. Rachel Reeves, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee, said: ‘Whirlpool’s response to fixing safety flaws in its tumble dryers has too often owed more to PR management than to taking the practical steps to make its machines safe for customers.
‘The Whirlpool tumble dryer saga has dragged on for far too long, leaving customers, now four years on, still fearing they may have potentially unsafe tumble dryers in their homes.
‘Whirlpool has failed to live up to the duties it owes to its customers. Whirlpool’s prime obligation was to fix the safety issues with its tumble dryers rather than engage in disgraceful tactics, such as using NDAs to silence customers who have been the victim of fires involving its products.’
Is there a fire-risk Whirlpool tumble dryer in your home? Take a look at our Whirlpool fire-dryer model checker to find out.