8 November 2019
A report by MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee have declared it “astonishing” that four years on from Whirlpool revealing potentially dangerous faults in its tumble dryers, as many as 800,000 defective machines could still be present in people’s homes, accusing the manufacturer of using “chilling” non-disclosure agreements “to silence customers”.
The BEIS Committee’s newly published report on the safety of electrical goods in the UK criticises Whirlpool for its slow response in modifying or replacing faulty machines, potentially leaving customers’ homes at risk of fires.
The report welcomes the recall of Whirlpool’s defective machines, announced in July 2019, but regrets that it took “far too long” for the Government to force this decision.
The defective tumble dryers were sold under brand names including Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan and Proline.
The report slams the company’s use of non-disclosure agreements and criticises Whirlpool’s efforts to deflect the concerns of safety organisations and customers rather than focussing on practical steps to address the safety problems.
The report also expresses concerns, shared by safety organisations, about the safety of Whirlpool’s modification.
The MPs are calling on the Government to press ahead with a new review of the safety of Whirlpool’s modification and to investigate other possible sources of fires in Whirlpool’s tumble dryers.
Commenting on the report, Rachel Reeves, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee said, “The major product safety issues raised by Whirlpool have … highlighted the need for a tough and independent national safety body with the teeth to stand up for consumers. The Government’s Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is not fit-for-purpose and should be scrapped. It should be replaced by a truly independent body, equipped with the full array of powers necessary to ensure that people have confidence in the safety of electrical goods in their homes.”