It is “extraordinary” that as many as 800,000 defective tumble dryers could still remain in people’s homes four years after Whirlpool revealed they are a fire risk, MPs have said.
The domestic appliance-maker’s response to handling the safety flaws too often “owed more to PR management” than to making the machines safe for customers, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee chairwoman Rachel Reeves said.
The committee’s investigation into Whirlpool criticises the company for its slow response in modifying or replacing faulty machines while also condemning the firm’s use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to “silence customers”.
It said Whirlpool had tried to deflect the concerns of safety organisations and customers rather than focus on practical steps to address the safety problems.
The company finally launched a full recall involving 500,000 dryers in July following a lengthy “safety campaign” that saw 1.7 million products modified.
The recall relates to certain models of Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan and Proline dryers built between 2004 and 2015.
Trade Whirlpool - WHR CFD
However Whirlpool admitted to MPs earlier this year that the true number of faulty tumble dryers in homes across the country could be 800,000 and it was working hard to modify those affected.
Whirlpool also revealed that, in recent years, it had logged 54 fires in its tumble dryers and admitted that three of those were models which had already been updated.
The BEIS Committee report welcomed the recall, but said it took “far too long” for the Government to force the move.
It also expressed concerns, shared by safety organisations, about the safety of Whirlpool’s modification.