Appliance fire lawyer Jill Paterson has backed a call from Leon Livermore, chief executive of the Chartered Trading Standard Institute that more action needs to be taken to deal with potentially dangerous Whirlpool tumble dryers.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live on 16th March Mr Livermore said that the current corrective action programme set up by Whirlpool following the identification of a fire-risk with a number of Whirlpool appliances was not acceptable. He said, “it is unacceptable for a company to leave unsafe products in consumer homes for 11 months.”
Whirlpool, who own a number of major brands purchased in the UK including Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda, are said to have contacted more than three million customers offering to repair appliances that pose a fire risk since revelations that the dryers could be dangerous as they allow lint to accumulate against the heating element.
Many consumers have reported that they face a lengthy wait for Whirlpool to organise the repairs.
Mr Livermore added, “we would call on the government, in particular the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to take action before someone dies."
Whirlpool says that it is trying to deal with the problem as quickly as possible and that it has recruited extra engineering staff to do this.
An independent review carried out by consumer champion Lynn Faulds Wood was recently published in which suggested improvements to the product recall system.
The review was commissioned following the death of a man following a house fire that was caused by a faulty Beko fridge freezer. The recommendations included:
- The creation of a national product safety agency, and a trusted product safety website
- An improvement in the funding, training, resources and procedure for market surveillance
- Exploring alternative funding solutions to improve the recall system
- The re-introduction of a national injury database
Jill Paterson acts for many clients who have been injured, lost their homes, or whose relatives have died in house fires believed to have been caused by faulty appliances, including the family of Santosh Benjamin.
At the inquest into Mr Benjamin’s death Coroner Walker made a number of recommendations to prevent future deaths from appliance fires.
Product liability lawyer Jill Paterson says:
“Despite the publication of an independent review, and recommendations from Coroner Walker, the safety of consumers continues to be compromised by the presence of potentially lethal kitchen appliances in their homes.
“The Government should act now to implement the reforms suggested by Coroner Walker and Lynn Faulds Wood in her Independent Recall Review.
“Manufacturers of potentially dangerous appliances must be forced to speed up the repair of their products or even to recall products where appropriate. We hope that Trading Standards’ call for urgent government intervention does not fall on deaf ears."