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Published on December 17th, 2019 | by The GC Team

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Half-a-million washing machines recalled by Whirlpool

Whirlpool has issued a product recall on more than 500,000 washing machines due to safety concerns about the door lock system.  

The machines were manufactured under the Hotpoint and Indesit brands between 2014 and 2018.

Whirlpool said the heating element in the appliances, when activated, can in very rare cases cause a component in the door lock system to overheat which, depending on product features, can pose a risk of fire.

No serious injuries have been reported, the company said.

The safety issue puts more pressure on Whirlpool as it follows a recall of thousands of tumble dryers in July this year after Government demands made a month earlier. The action concerned machines that had not been modified under a long-running safety campaign and involved Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan and Proline models identified as a fire risk some four years ago and still in the public domain.

“Preparing for a recall of this scale is a complex operation and Whirlpool is working tirelessly to ensure it is ready to start offering replacements or repairs to its customers from January,” the company said in a statement regarding the washing machine recall.

Martyn Allen, Technical Director at Electrical Safety First, said: “Issuing a recall as Whirlpool has now done is the correct course of action when a potentially dangerous fault such as this is discovered.”

But Sue Davies, Which? Strategic Policy Adviser, suggested the problem will leave the company’s reputation “in tatters”.  

“This safety alert will cause huge disruption for millions of people who will have no washing machine over Christmas, and following the tumble dryer scandal, leaves Whirlpool’s reputation as a company that can be trusted on product safety in tatters,” she commented.

Davies also accused the business of having “a track record for appearing to put corporate reputation ahead of public safety in its disgraceful handling of the unsafe tumble dryer crisis.

“Customers will be hugely frustrated that this recall is not set to start for weeks and that they are not being offered refunds for machines from a brand they may no longer want to have in their homes.”

In response to the recall, Whirlpool said it is doubling its call centre team to 800 customer service agents; sharply increasing production at its five washing machine factories in the region to prioritise the manufacture of like-for-like replacement models; increasing its engineer workforce to 1,100 and providing specialist training on the in-home modification; engaging third-party logistics support to undertake collection of affected washing machines from people’s homes and delivery and installation of replacement appliances.

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