Every day, many of us depend on modern appliances to make our lives that little bit simpler and more efficient. There’s nothing more frustrating than when your daily routine is thrown out of sync by a fridge that stops working, a dishwasher that decides to pack in or a tumble dryer that catches fire. That’s right – catches fire!
It’s been reported that millions of customers could be at risk due to faulty tumble dryers sold under the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brand names. But should you worry?
Are you affected?
An estimated 5.3 million machines manufactured and sold between April 2004 and October 2015 are said to be affected. Even though up to a million machines have been replaced and taken out of service, many customers still aren’t sure if theirs are faulty.
Whirlpool – the manufacturer of the tumble dryers – says it has contacted 3.4 million customers. But if they haven’t contacted you and you’re unsure if the tumble dryer is affected, take a look at the Hotpoint and Indesit safety sites – Creda now comes under Hotpoint. This will enable you to check your model via a simple step by step process, including a check by model name and number.
There are several routes you can take to ensure your faulty drier is repaired, or replaced. So take a look at what you’re supposed to do.
Contact Whirlpool to explain that you’ve been through the checks and notice your model is one that is included in the recall. If your dryer needs repairing, they should arrange an engineer visit for free. Some customers have said there is a 10 week wait, and engineer slots aren’t available until January 2017.
Can I still use my machine if it’s affected?
Officially Whirlpool has said yes, but you shouldn’t leave it unattended. They say:
"As the repair programme progresses, consumers can continue to use their tumble dryers. However, the company urges them to clean the lint filter after every cycle and ensure proper venting, in accordance with the original instructions for use. The company is also asking that consumers do not leave their dryers unattended during operation (i.e., do not leave the house or leave the dryer on when asleep)."
It may seem unreasonable to wait months to get a repair and have the worry about the ongoing danger risk. If you’re still unhappy with the manufacturer’s usage guide, you have one of three options.
1. Whirlpool’s offer of a new machine
Whirlpool are offering customers a replacement vented dryer for an upfront cost of £59 (RRP £219) or a condenser dryer for £99 (RRP 299), including the removal of the old one and connection of the new one. Call Whirlpool to discuss a refund on 0800 151 0905 or use the contact form online.
2. Go back to the shop
Go back to the store you bought your machine from, or contact them if bought online, and explain what’s happened. It’s worth trying because you’re exercising your rights under the Consumer Rights Act (and the Sales of Goods Act, applying to goods bought before 1 October 2015). Legally, it’s up to the shop to prove your goods weren’t faulty when you bought them.
If that time has passed and the product is six months to six years old, you must prove that it’s unfit for purpose. With the manufacturers’ recall and as it’s an unsafe product, you have a good chance to get your money back. It seems many consumers have had positive results taking this route. So make use of the laws and be sure to mention the Consumer Rights Act rules– products must be satisfactory as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable length of time.
3. Use Section 75
If you made your purchase using a credit card and the shop you bought the machine from is no longer trading or the retailer won’t accept responsibility, then you can use Section 75 to try and obtain a full refund from your credit card provider. Section 75 is the law that protects credit card purchases from £100 up to £30,000. In this case, it means the credit card provider is equally liable with the store for refunding you over the faulty good or if the store has shut down.