Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Whirlpool accepts need for recall following government intervention
Whirlpool to issue product recall of unmodified tumble dryers: consumers with an unmodified, affected tumble dryer will be entitled to new replacement machine.
Whirlpool UK Appliances Ltd is to issue a product recall of tumble dryers not yet modified from consumers’ homes.
The announcement follows an intervention on 4 June by the government’s Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) which informed Whirlpool of its intent to serve a Recall Notice.
Under the recall, consumers with an unmodified, affected tumble dryer will be entitled to a new replacement machine. This will be delivered and installed, with the old one removed, all at no cost.
Whirlpool has agreed to undertake a number of actions required by OPSS, and which have been reviewed by an Expert Panel, consisting of an independent Queen’s Counsel and three Chief Scientific Advisors from the Home Office, Health and Safety Executive and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. These actions are set out in an exchange of letters between OPSS and Whirlpool but include commitments to:
- deliver a significant new consumer outreach campaign with wide ranging publicity of the product recall aimed at reaching affected consumers and driving up awareness
- guarantee no charges for delivery, installation or removal of machines
- improve identification of, and outreach to, vulnerable consumers
- provide OPSS with timely reporting of progress made in the product recall
Consumer Affairs Minister Kelly Tolhurst yesterday said:
The UK has some of the toughest consumer protection laws in the world. Our intervention demonstrates that we will take all the necessary steps to keep consumers safe.
I want to reassure consumers that we are doing everything to ensure consumers with unmodified machines are made aware and have their tumble dryer replaced.
Consumers with an unmodified machine should contact Whirlpool to arrange a free replacement.
The decision follows a review by OPSS which was published in April 2019 which instructed Whirlpool to reach affected consumers in more creative ways to minimise the risk of unsafe machines still being in people’s homes. Owners of unmodified, affected tumble dryers should unplug and contact Whirlpool.
The power to serve a recall notice is set out in Regulation 15 of General Product Safety Regulations 2005. This is the first intervention of this kind, following the establishment of the OPSS in January 2018. No other European country has used the recall process in this way and on this scale before – including the recall of appliances which have been in use for some time.
As part of our monitoring of the recall, Whirlpool will be served with a Regulation 28 Information Notice under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005. This will require Whirlpool to provide regular updates to OPSS on progress made in the product recall. Failure to comply without reasonable cause to such a Notice is a criminal offence.
The recall covers all models of vented and condensing tumble dryers produced between 1 April 2004 and 30 September 2015 and sold in the United Kingdom under the Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Proline and Swan brands, with the exception of those which have been modified or replaced in accordance with the agreement between Whirlpool UK Appliances Limited and Peterborough Council of September 2015. Consumers can:
- call the Whirlpool helpline on 0800 151 0905 for more information
- visit the Whirlpool website for a full list of affected machines
- visit product recall
Whirlpool first informed its Primary Authority (and regulator), Peterborough City Council, of the issue with its tumble dryers in August 2015.
In January 2018, OPSS was setup within BEIS to enhance and support product safety regulation within the UK. In May 2018, then Consumer Affairs Minister, Andrew Griffiths, met with Whirlpool senior executives to express his concerns and intention to commission a review of its modification programme. OPSS was commissioned by Ministers to undertake a review, which was published in April 2019.
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