Whirlpool says faulty dryers should be unplugged immediately

The company previously said they were safe to use as long as they weren't left unattended

Whirlpool orders plug to be pulled on millions of faulty tumble dryers until they can be repaired

Families with exploding tumble dryers in their homes have been told to unplug them immediately in a dramatic u-turn by manufacturer Whirlpool.

The electricals giant caved in to pressure and admitted all affected models including Hotpoint and Indesit dryers should be taken out of service until they can be repaired.

See also: Are these potential killers lurking in your home?

See also: Tumble dryers cause almost one fire a day

It comes after the Mirror led calls for Whirlpool to take responsibility for 5.3 million dangerous machines sold over a decade and linked to hundreds of fires.

Campaigners are now demanding customers with unable to use dryers while waiting months for a repair be compensated.

Since admitting the fault in November 2015 the company had defiantly insisted they were safe to use so long as they were not left unattended.

It faced a barrage of demands to order them to be taken out of use including from firefighters, consumer group Which? and Electrical Safety First.

The Mirror has led the way in exposing the exploding tumble dryer and holding Whirlpool to account culminating in the issue being debated in Parliament.

Which? Has now joined the Mirror's call for a full product recall and free replacement of all faulty machines.

Credits: LFB

LFB

Andy Slaughter MP, who called the debate in the House of Commons, said: "This now opens Whirlpool to claims from customers who have machines they cannot use.

"They should be replacing as well a repairing defective machines and if there is a delay in doing so, which there inevitably will be, they should compensate customers for the extra cost and inconvenience of not having a working dryer."

Alice Beer, consumer campaigner for ITV's This Morning, said: "I think it's completely unreasonable to expect customers not to use their tumble dryers whilst they wait for a modification.

"This is one of the wettest months of the year and anyone with children or extra needs in the family cannot be expected to have wet sheets and clothing spread around their house or flat.

"Instead of pushing its customers to pay for a reduced price replacement for their faulty machine, wouldn't it be great if customers who are not able to use a machine that they have purchased in good faith are compensated."

The change comes after consumer group Which launched a bid for a judicial review against Peterborough-based Trading Standards for not taking a harder line with Whirlpool.

The Trading Standards office, responsible for the issue because that is where Whirlpool's UK headquarters is based, then issued two new enforcement notices.

Credits: Daily Mirror

Daily Mirror

Other brands affected by the fault which sees excess fluff catch fire are Creda, Swan and Proline.

Whirlpool confirmed the dramatic u-turn yesterday(Wed) in updated advice on its website.

It states: "If your tumble dryer is affected by this issue then you should unplug it and do not use it until the modification has taken place."

Jill Paterson, of Leigh Day solicitors representing victims of tumble dryer fires, said: "Thousands of consumers are now left with a product that they can't use and are enforced to wait for Whirlpool to get round to carrying out the modification.

"This can't be right. I would call on Whirlpool to rectify this situation by offering compensation or a free replacement machine to all those affected as soon as possible."

Families have been left waiting months with the potential death traps in their homes after Whirlpool refused to initiate a full product recall and replace all machines.

Instead it attempted a mammoth repair programme for the 3.8 million machines estimated to still be in use.

The trading standards enforcement notices were initially appealed by Whirlpool and the company faced being taken to court if it did not comply.

Alex Neill, director of legal services for Which? said: "Following our long running campaign and our recent application for judicial review,

Peterborough Trading Standards has finally taken enforcement action against Whirlpool for the ongoing tumble dryer safety issue.

Credits: hotpoint

hotpoint

"Fundamentally we now believe a full recall is necessary and the Government must urgently address the issues with the product safety system as it shouldn't require the threat of judicial review to ensure that consumers are protected from dangerous products.

"Despite updating the safety notice on its websites, Whirlpool still needs to do a lot more.

"Our advice is to go straight to Whirlpool to demand your machine is fixed but also try speaking to the retailer you bought it from."

Faulty models sold between 2004 and 2015 have been linked to hundreds of fires and at least two deaths.

Doug McTavish, 39, and Bernard Hender, 19, died in ablaze at their home in Conwy, North Wales, in October 2014.

London Fire Brigade investigators found that a serious blaze that ripped through an 18-storey tower block in Shepherd's Bush last August was caused by a faulty Indesit tumble dryer which required a repair.

Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Dan Daly said: "This change of advice could save lives and we are extremely relieved that, after six months of campaigning by the Brigade, Whirlpool has finally brought its advice in line with our own.

"We attend nearly one fire a day involving white goods and strongly believe that if your appliance is subject to a safety or recall notice or you think there is something wrong with it you should unplug it immediately and contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician.

Whirlpool said of the 3.8 million machines thought to be still in service 1.5 million customers have registered for a repair. It said 1.3 million of these cases have been resolved.

It said in a statement: "Trading Standards confirmed, following an internal review by independent experts, that the modification programme remains the most effective way of resolving this issue. "Since the launch of this campaign, safety has been our number one priority. We have consistently responded to the advice of Trading Standards and continue to do so.

"Trading standards have now notified us that updated usage advice should be communicated to consumers and we are implementing this.

"Trading standards have confirmed that our actions to date in this campaign have been undertaken diligently and responsibly.

"The success of this programme depends on as many customers as possible registering with us for a modification."

The five faulty brand models are now owned by Whirlpool. Whirlpool branded tumble dryers are not affected.


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