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Appliance fire lawyer Jill Paterson calls for swift action on product recall system

ITV This Morning highlights problems with faulty white goods

A kitchen ruined in a house fire

28 January 2016

Fire appliance lawyer Jill Paterson has called on the Government to publish a review of the product recall system to be published as quickly as possible as ITV’s This Morning today highlights the potential dangers posed by recalled white goods.

Consumer campaigner Lynn Faulds Wood was asked to carry out a review of the product recall system last year, her report was expected to be published in November 2015.  However the report has still not been published and campaigners are concerned that lives are at risk because of failings in the current recall system.

Consumer group Which? estimates that nearly 4,000 faulty appliances lead to domestic house fires each year.  Some of these are fatal.

Campaigners argue that the current recall system leaves people exposed to danger in their homes which may contain potentially lethal appliances which have been the subject of a recall which has not been widely publicised to consumers.

The role of trading standards officers in the protection of consumers is important, and there is speculation that publication of the Faulds Wood review has been delayed partly because austerity measures have severely reduced the number of trading standards officers throughout the UK.

It is believed that the review will say that the existing system of product recall can be made to work more effectively without the need for new laws, but with an increase in resources supporting the current framework.

Appliance fire lawyer Jill Paterson acted for the family of Santosh Benjamin-Muthiah who died in a house fire in North London in 2010.  The inquest into his death concluded that the fire was caused by a defective Beko fridge-freezer.

Jill also acted for Lorraine Ward, helping her to recover from the effects of a serious house fire caused by a tumble dryer.  You can watch Lorraine’s video about her experience.


The coroner made a number of recommendations following Mr Benjamin-Muthiah’s death, including the development of a website listing recalled products, tougher sanctions against manufacturers and retailers who fail to warn the public about potentially lethal goods, and improved fire-proof identification on all appliances. He also called for a recall code of practice and that fire investigators should be forced to report faulty goods to trading standards.

Jill says:

“The current system for product recall and review is not fit for purpose. It incredibly important that the review is published and considered as soon as possible.

“Despite the high costs of product recalls to manufacturers and retailers it is vitally important that they are forced to comply with a robust monitoring system that protects the public from appliances that are found to be unsafe and potentially lethal.

“Many viewers of today’s edition of ITV’s This Morning have reported on social media that they were unaware that their appliance, including tumble dryers, had been recalled until they watched today’s programme.

“Recent tragedies have shown that consumers cannot rely on investigations carried out by manufacturers who have a vested interest in downplaying the risks of their products.”

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