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31 Mar 2011

More exploding Candy washing machines

Too little action from Candy, says Which?

A post explosion Candy G01682-80 - the second of three cases in thee months

A fault causing Candy washing machines to explode in people's homes was dismissed by Candy as 'very, very rare' - but Which? has learned of three cases in three months.

In January this year we reported on the first UK explosion of a Candy washing machine, and Candy said the fault was limited to an 'infinitesimal' number of Candy washing machines with a high spin speed built prior to a correction in September 2009.

But Candy now accepts that machines from Hoover - which is part of the Candy group - that have a similar construction, and which were built in the same time period, may also be affected. And it is unable to guarantee that machines with a lower spin speed are free from risk.

Candy machines - UKcases

The fault, which can cause the drum to tear free under the pressure of a high spin, appears to be caused by a poor welding of the drum. This can result in the drum tearing through the top of the machine and breaking any surface in its way.

After reporting five cases in Germany, Which? was contacted by three people in the UKwhose machines suffered similar a fate. One woman standing close by at the time told us she'd suffered bruising to her back.

We've also seen comments from a washing machine engineer who claims to have seen 'probably over 100' cases over a six-month period.

The gallery below shows further details of the damage.

Too little action

According to Candy: 'Our analysis demonstrates that only a very small fraction of machines produced before September 2009 are likely to experience a failure of this type. That said, on occasion an incident may occur.'

Candy claims trading standards officers in Bolton, the authority dealing with the case, 'haven't had a problem' with the way the issue is being dealt with by Candy, and that no further action is required.

A spokesperson from Bolton council told us: 'Consumer safety is always our priority with regards to giving advice to businesses, but at the end of the day, it is up to the trader to decide what actions to take.'

We don't think that enough action is being taken to ensure these machines are safe. Current advice to consumers is to call Candy's helpline for 'reassurance' (0844 4995599), but Candy admits it's unable to guarantee any one of its models is absolutely risk free.

What do you think about Candy's approach? Join the debate on Which? Conversation - Would you keep a washing machine that might explode?

Which? needs your help

Candy says it has passed details of the number of cases on to the relevant authorities, but remains reluctant to provide the same information to Which? to help us gauge the scale of the problem.

If you've experienced a similar problem - or bought a high-spin Candy washing machine before September 2009 that you'd consider selling to us for testing - email homeeditor@which.co.uk with details.

Which? combines the data from lab tests and an annual reliability survey to create a guide to the best brands of washing machine. For an overview of our findings and experience with Hoover washing machines - along with a list of the best brands we'd recommend - visit our guide to the best washing machine brands.

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