Around 500,000 Appliances Believed To Be Affected
Lawyers specialising in supporting people injured by defective products have spoken of their concerns after Whirlpool announced it is to recall around half a million washing machines thought to pose a fire risk.
The machines, branded as Hotpoint or Indesit, are believed to have a problem with their door locking system which can overheat and create a fire risk.
This decision comes after the Government issued a recall notice in June relating to around 500,000 Whirlpool tumble dryers, which were thought to have a fault linked to hundreds of fires across an 11 year period.
Whirlpool has urged anyone with an affected appliance to unplug the washing machine and not use it until it has been repaired in their home by a trained engineer. Alternatively, there will be the option of a replacement with a safe model.
The BBC reports that this process will not begin until early January, at the earliest. As a result, owners of affected appliances now face a prospect of being without a washing machine for months while they are being fixed or replaced.
Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Product Liability team has extensive experience in providing advice to those who have suffered illness or injury as a result of faulty devices, from household appliances to medical products.
Expert Opinion“The fire risk associated with Whirlpool tumble dryers was identified a long time ago, and culminated in a product recall earlier this year which in our view was long overdue.
“In one sense, it is encouraging to see that Whirlpool appears to have issued a product recall immediately upon identifying the fire risk, with advice to stop using the washing machines. In the case of the tumble dryer recall, Whirlpool’s initial advice was to continue to use them, in spite of the risk.
“What continues to be a cause for concern is the apparent failing in design or manufacture of these machines. The result has been to place ordinary consumers at risk of serious injury and damage to their property.
“Safety is obviously the priority here, and relevant machines need to be identified at the earliest opportunity to ensure they are taken out of use and fixed or replaced. We urge that this is done as soon as possible in order to cause the least inconvenience to people who do not want to be without a washing machine for a long period of time, especially at Christmas.
“Following that, further efforts must be made to determine what steps can be taken to ensure that lessons are learned and this does not happen again.
“Through our work, we have seen the consequences that faulty devices can have on so many lives, and manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that safety comes first.”
Matthew Newbould - Associate Solicitor
Whirlpool has told the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) about the recall plans.