Whirlpool tumble dryers: MPs’ anger as replacement ends

MPs are demanding to know why the white goods manufacturer Whirlpool ended a product replacement scheme for dangerous tumble dryers.

The Commons business committee says that more than a million of the defective machines remain in UK homes.

In November a coroner blamed an electrical fault in a Whirlpool dryer for a 2014 fire that killed two men.

The firm says it is still offering free repairs but ended a £50 offer for a replacement machine after demand fell.

After problems with the machines first emerged, it initially told customers that the dryers were safe to use but should not be left unattended, but later said the machines should be unplugged until they could be repaired.

With growing waiting lists for a repair, the company announced it would allow customers to purchase a replacement dryer for the reduced price of £50.

The Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has written to Whirlpool, asking why it has chosen to end this replacement scheme.

Committee chairwoman Rachel Reeves accused the US manufacturer of "falling significantly short of their responsibilities" and asked why chairman Ian Moverly failed to mention the end of the replacement scheme when he gave evidence to her committee in October.

In a statement to BBC News, Whirlpool said: "We continue to appeal to any remaining owners of the affected models to contact us immediately so we can modify their tumble dryers.

"After two years of extensive measures to raise awareness, the number of consumers coming forward has fallen sharply. This suggests that few affected appliances remain in service.

"We wish to remind consumers that if they still own one of these appliances, it is never too late to get in touch and we urge them to contact us immediately.

"The booking process is instant and they can arrange for one of our engineers to visit their home free of charge to carry out the modification at a time of their choice."

The Whirlpool statement continued: "All consumers who own an affected dryer are eligible for a free-of-charge modification.

"Previously, consumers who wished to upgrade their products to a newer model were offered the additional option of a brand new dryer in exchange for a small contribution to the total cost.

The scheme has now ended due to a fall in demand."

Consumer group Which? criticised both Whirlpool and the government, which it called on to step in.

Managing director Alex Neill said: 'It is completely unacceptable that Whirlpool has shut down its replacement scheme for these dangerous tumble dryers.

"It is irresponsible that despite one million households potentially still using an affected machine Whirlpool seems unwilling to do everything possible to deal with this issue."

"The Government must step in and force Whirlpool to fully recall the remaining tumble dryers," he added.

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