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Appliance fire lawyer backs call for national recall register

Series of fires prompts MP to campaign on product recall

Burnt out washing machine

14 October 2016

Appliance fire lawyer Jill Paterson has backed calls from Andy Slaughter MP for a government-backed single register for UK product recalls, which can be easily searched by consumers.

The MP has tabled an early day motion which expresses “deep concern” about the potential fatal fire risks posed by some household white good such as tumble dryers, dishwashers and fridges.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) recently concluded that a huge fire in in tower block in Shepherd’s Bush was likely caused by an Indesit tumble dryer subject to a safety notice. It took 120 firefighters to bring the fire under control.

LFB is currently calling for a single, publicly accessible register of product recalls because of the difficulty consumers currently face when wanting to check, or be made aware that their appliances might be dangerous.

Andy Slaughter MP is also backing this campaign. He noted that the LFB “has attended over 2,000 incidents since 2011 to tackle fires involving white goods, with an estimated cost to the public purse of over £118m” and with “devastating” consequences for those involved.

Research from consumer group Which? in 2015 found faulty household appliance caused 12,000 fires in Britain in three years, with washing machines and tumble dryers being the most common cause of fire.

Indesit’s parent company Whirlpool is still arranging for the repair or replacement of more than 5m appliances in the UK.  Some consumers are facing long waiting-lists for a visit from an engineer.

A coroner at the inquest into the death Santosh Benjamin, who died in a house fire caused by a Beko fridge freezer, also recommended that the product recall system be improved in the UK. One of his recommendations was the introduction of a government-funded website to record product recalls.

Jill Paterson, whose team is currently acting for a number of families affected by the Shepherd’s Bush tower block fire, said:

“The current product recall system is simply not working for consumers.

“I welcome the steps that Andy Slaughter has taken to raise awareness about the potential dangers of some household appliances, and hope that the consumer minister will act quickly to implement the changes suggested by the London Fire Brigade, Coroner Andrew Walker and consumer champion Lynn Faulds Wood.”

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