Whirlpool: Owners rush to register fire-risk washing machines

January 17, 2020 by No Comments


Mark FielderImage copyright
Mark Fielder

Image caption

Mark Fielder criticised Whirlpool’s response

Thousands more owners of dangerous Hotpoint and Indesit washing machines have demanded a resolution from manufacturer Whirlpool.

The US firm launched a huge recall of UK machines last week, and some 76,000 customers are now awaiting action.

But that still leaves 443,000 machines which need to be located and either repaired or replaced.

Whirlpool says a fault in the electronic door mechanism could cause the machines to catch fire.

One owner, Mark Fielder, from Feltham, west London, dismisses the recall process as “appalling”.

“The communication is poor and the information is questionable,” he complains.

There has been mounting anxiety after Whirlpool revealed that 79 fires had been caused by the defect, and advised owners to unplug the appliances or only use the cold cycle.

About 1.6 million people have contacted the company, though most do not own affected machines. The problem affects about 20% of Hotpoint and Indesit models sold since 2014.

A full month after Whirlpool owned up to the problem, only 7,000 households have had either a new one delivered or an engineer visit to make a repair.

Mr Fielder said the company has failed to come up with a fair replacement. “We were offered a washing machine of the same size but it had a lower spec, the next we were offered was a bigger machine that wouldn’t fit in the space,” he explains.

He checked on the website of retailer Currys and found an exact replacement which he could order and have delivered in a few days. “People are accepting machines they don’t want out of desperation to get their washing done,” he adds.

A spokesman for Whirlpool said it was early days in the recall process and that there were a lot of free slots available this month for appointments.

Another customer, Sue Farley, is celebrating having her replacement put in. “My old washing machine has gone and a brand new one installed and working after less than 2 weeks in all,” she says. “I cannot fault the procedure.”

Whirlpool started sending out emails last Thursday to 62,000 affected owners who had already registered, explaining the options on offer and offering dates for visits. Since then another 14,000 have got in touch, but hundreds of thousands of risky washing machines remain in British homes.

More than 43,000 people have signed a petition calling on the company to offer refunds, as well as repairs and replacements.