Whirlpool admits only half of faulty dryers have been repaired

5.3 million dangerous machines were sold over a decade

Updated: 

Whirlpool admits only half of faulty dryers have been repaired

More than a million tumble dryers with a fault known to cause fires are thought to still be in British homes, it was revealed today.

The Mirror has led calls for Whirlpool to take responsibility for 5.3 million dangerous machines sold over a decade and linked to hundreds of fires.

See also: Whirlpool says faulty dryers should be unplugged immediately

See also: Whirlpool customers 'still facing tumble dryer repair delays' after safety alert

But the manufacturer admitted that only around half of the dangerous machines - including Indesit and Hotpoint models - had so far been repaired.

Pete Moorey, Head of campaigns for consumer group Which?, told MPs Whirlpool's repair programme was "far from satisfactory, adding: "I think the fact that there could be 2 million of these machines estimated in people's homes is incredibly worrying."

Credits: LFB

The fault was blamed for a tragic blaze in a London tower block

Whirlpool's head of communications, Ian Moverley

Hotpoint is blamed for killer tumble dryer fire - and family could claim millions

Whirlpool head of communications Ian Moverley said a repair programme was the "most effective" way to deal with the fault.

Giving evidence to the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Mr Moverley said the firm estimate around a million machines are still in circulation.

Asked if he was satisfied with that figure, he said: "We will never be satisfied, I can assure you of that."

The fault results in "fluff" in the machines catching fire, and has caused hundreds of house fires since it was identified in 2014.

The multi-million pound electrical giant owns the Indesit brand which firefighters say was responsible for a blaze that damaged several floors of an 18-storey London tower block in August 2016.

The dryer that caused the fire was awaiting repair, but the owner had been told it was safe to use as long as it was not left unattended.

Charlie Pugsley, the National Fire Chiefs Council's head of investigations, told the Committee he had taken the unprecedented step of writing to Whirlpool six months before the fire broke out, expressing concern over advice that was being given to customers.

He said: "Subsequently, regrettably, we had all those people displaced in what we would certainly regard a near miss. Because had that fire been at night time it could have been a different picture."

The firm were made aware that the fault existed in 2014, but they did not instigate a proactive repair programme until 2015.

Whirlpool has also been made aware of at least 20 fires since 2014 where a second fault with a door mechanism was identified as the probable cause. Whirlpool has not instigated a repair programme for that issue.

Whirlpool facing calls to pay compensation to customers over faulty rumble dryers

And Committee chair Rachel Reeves slammed Whirlpool for sending their Head of Communications, who was unable to answer several questions from MPs, to give evidence to the committee rather than a senior manager.

She said: "We don't expect time and again for our questions not to be given answers.

"When a select committee asks someone to give evidence we expect someone to give evidence who can answer the questions."

But Mr Moverley defended the firm's approach to the repairs.

He said: "It was a very large scale campaign and we took huge steps and have worked extremely hard to ensure that this is resolved as soon as possible for our consumers. The number of steps we took was recruiting additional 700 engineers that we trained and put into the field, doubling the call centre."


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