Whirlpool confirms recall plan for fire-risk tumble-dryers

Whirlpool has officially confirmed to the Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) that it is from today (July 11) implementing its plans for a recall of as many as 800,000 faulty tumble-dryers.

This follows a Government call for it to implement a full-blown recall and makes good on the pledges given by Jeff Noel, corporate vice-president for communications and public affairs at Whirlpool Corporation, when he appeared before the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee last week (July 1).

At that hearing, chairman Rachel Reeves MP also called for Whirlpool to publish a full list of the affected tumble-dryer models. It has now done this and the full list of affected tumble-dryer models can be found at https://safety.hotpoint.eu/img/affected-dryers.pdf

It was at that hearing that Noel also revealed that there could be as many as 800,000 faulty Creda, Hotpoint, Indesit, Proline and Swan tumble-dryers still awaiting modification or replacement – that is the upper end of the estimate that places the number of unmodified dryers left in the market between 250,000 and 500,000.

So far Whirlpool has undertaken modifications on 1.7 million dryers and its recall plan aims to ramp up the process in a bid to reach more consumers, offering “new remedies to choose from and new creative routes to communicate with them”.

At the Commons committee hearing, Noel had already revealed how: “The single most important thing that can be done is to make the message simple, straightforward and make the opportunity as easy as possible for the consumer. We will do direct and indirect advertorials, social media, we’ve ramped up call-taker staff, we’ve ramped up service engineers, we’ve ramped up our supply chain so we can enhance production of replacement machines. And we will work with retailers to make sure all the information is provided to them.”

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In its latest letter to the OPSS, Whirlpool also confirmed that it would take new steps to reach vulnerable consumers and non-native English speakers.

The letter said that the recall plan would be implemented as of today (July 11) and that it would start by communicating the new offers available to consumers (see below) to those that had contacted them over the past two weeks.

Whirlpool is targeting Monday, July 22, for the full nationwide publicity campaign to announce the recall.

It also outlined what was on offer for consumers, which included:

  • A free replacement dryer;
  • Opportunity to upgrade for a small charge;
  • Free modification together with a £50 voucher that can be exchanged to purchase another Whirlpool product;
  • An age-related refund premium of between £35 and £150, including the collection of the affected dryer;
  • Ensuring there are no charges for delivery and installation of a new tumble-dryer or removal of an unmodified tumble-dryer;
  • Give convenient options for engineer/delivery visits so that they can choose an option that best suits their busy lifestyle;
  • Flexible options for consumers to contact Whirlpool by phone or online, including social media and live chat;
  • Escalate vulnerable consumers to maximise their convenience.

At the Commons committee hearing last week, Noel also revealed: “We have expanded our call centre staff and will have the call-takers there on flexible hours. We will also be spending at least an additional £1 million in advertising to reach those consumers because we want to work together to get the message out.”

Whirlpool is advising customers with unmodified tumble-dryers to call 0800 151 0905 or to visit its dedicated websites  https://safety.hotpoint.eu/, https://safety.indesit.eu/ or https://safety-swan.eu where they can find out if their dryer is one of the affected models.

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