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Calls for product safety reform following tumble dryer fire risk

Daily Mirror campaign for greater safeguards for consumers on product recall as campaigning lawyer Jill Paterson confirms record number of enquiries from concerned consumers

Posted on 11 February 2016

Partner in the Consumer Law and Product Safety team at Leigh Day, Jill Paterson, has confirmed to the Daily Mirror that she has received over 200 calls over the past few weeks from people worried that their household dryer may be a fire risk as the paper launches a campaign calling for changes to the rules around product recalls.

Amongst the changes to the current system the newspaper demands are changes to the powers Trading Standards are given to monitor new products and, if necessary, investigate and order potentially dangerous models to be recalled.

It also calls for a national online register of all items which have been recalled with detailed reasons why as well as a joined-up system of reporting between emergency services and coroners around the country so that any death caused by a dangerous or faulty product is recorded.

The campaign follows a number of fires linked to faulty appliances which are believed to have resulted in fatalities.

Jill Paterson from Leigh Day told the Mirror: “There are hundreds of thousands of people out there who have products at home which they don’t think are usable because of the fire risk."

The Mirror reports that thousands of owners are waiting for their appliances to be repaired following a major product alert by Whirlpool on five million of its Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands sold between 2004 and 2015.

Whirlpool admitted in November the fire fault exists and is caused when excess fluff touches the heating element. However, it has not issued a product recall.

Ms Paterson told the Mirror: “There have probably been hundreds of these fires and in many cases the link may not have been made between the fire and this product safety alert.”

According to the Daily Mirror Whirlpool refused to answer the following questions:

  • When did Hotpoint/Indesit/Creda first know of this particular problem?
  • How many tumble dryer fires have been reported for Creda, Indesit and Hotpoint models from 2004 to 2015?
  • Did Hotpoint/Indesit/Creda fully declare the extent of the problem when Whirlpool acquired its 60% stake in Indesit in 2014?
  • Was this information reflected in the £603 million price which it paid?

Consumer champion and former Watchdog presenter Lynn Faulds Wood was asked to carry out a review of product recall rules last year. Her report should be published later this year.