MP demands Whirlpool compensates customers as washing machine recall begins

Yvonne Fovargue MP
Yvonne Fovargue MP

A borough MP is calling on Whirlpool to compensate its customers as a recall of more than half a million fire-risk washing machines gets under way.

Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue says the firm needs to act as quickly as possible.

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Her concerns have been echoed by Which? with the consumer brand worrying that customers could have dangerous appliances in their homes for months to come.

Currently the company has only agreed to repair or replace unsafe machines.

Up to 519,000 Hotpoint and Indesit washing machine are being recalled owing to a fault with the door lock, which results in them posing a fire risk. The recall covers models manufactured between October 2014 and February 2018.

Ms Fovargue said: "The important thing is for Whirlpool to act quickly. Customers have been severely let down and any delay or uncertainty just adds further distress. Whirlpool should be compensating now.”

Ms Fovargue is one of more than 30 MPs who have written to Whirlpool with their concerns about the recall process.

The latest safety saga was announced in December, when hundreds of thousands of families were told just a week before Christmas that their Hotpoint or Indesit washing machines had a serious safety fault which has caused 79 fires.

Which? has since been contacted by numerous concerned Whirlpool customers who are already struggling without the use of their washing machine and fear they could be left in limbo for months while waiting for a repair or replacement.

Others have already bought a new machine out of desperation because they felt they could not endure a long wait for a functioning machine and the consumer champion is aware of people racking up considerable expenses in trips to the launderette.

Which? is also concerned about conflicting advice from Whirlpool and the government’s product safety regulator about whether or not customers can continue to use the machines at all while they are left to wait for a repair or replacement.

The brand has called for a full probe into the company following a number of major safety scares over the past few years.

Sue Davies, head of consumer protection at Which?, said: “It would clearly be unacceptable if customers were left for many months without adequate washing facilities in their homes, particularly when there is also no offer to cover consequential costs such as trips to the launderette.

“The company should do the right thing and offer customers a refund, so people can get fire-risk machines out of their homes and quickly find a suitable replacement.

“There needs to be a full investigation about what Whirlpool knew about these machines and when. The government’s failing Office for Product Safety and Standards must also be replaced by an independent regulator with real powers to keep dangerous products out of people’s homes.”