A year on from the safety notice issued by Whirlpool and it is still “failing its affected customers”, Which? has claimed.
Following its first investigation this April into the safety notice issued in November 2015 for Indesit, Hotpoint and Creda tumble-dryers made between April 2004 and September 2015, Which? launched a second probe this November.
Which? claimed it found Whirlpool had given customers incorrect and “potentially dangerous” advice.
The consumers’ association said it made 30 calls to the Whirlpool call centre and was informed that one model was not affected, despite providing a model number that was known to be have been affected. It also claimed that Whirlpool instructed it to throw away any letters about the safety notice.
One three occasions, Which? said it was told to contact the shop where the model had been purchased for a replacement.
As well as affected customers experiencing long waits for customer ID numbers, which need to be issued before the process can go any further, it also found that some call handlers were quoting six to 12 weeks for a customer ID, despite Whirlpool’s commitment to reducing the wait time to 10 days.
Of the affected customers surveyed by Which? in November, it found that more than one-in-five (22 per cent) it contacted again in April were still waiting for their machines to be repaired or replaced.
A third of those who had since had had their machines replaced or repaired said they were dissatisfied with how the manufacturer handled the situation.
Six-in-10 (62 per cent) of respondents surveyed for the first time in November who were waiting for a repair said they were concerned about using their tumble-dryer.
A quarter (26 per cent) of affected customers were told they would have to wait longer than six months for their tumble-dryers to be repaired, while one-in-five (22 per cent) were told the wait could be between three to six months.
Which? managing director of home and legal services, Alex Neill, said: “It is absolutely unacceptable that, one year on, Whirlpool customers are still seeing slow, poor service and potentially receiving incorrect and dangerous advice. Its modification programme is clearly not progressing as fast as it should.
“Following the devastating fire caused by a tumble-dryer in Shepherd’s Bush earlier this year, Whirlpool cannot be allowed to continue letting consumers down. It must clean up its act and sort out this mess urgently.”
When Which? asked Whirlpool to comment on the findings, it said: “We urge everyone who owns an Indesit, Hotpoint or Creda dryer manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015 to check if their dryer is affected and then register for a free modification if it is. Customers can do this using the model checker on two bespoke websites we have created:
“The safety of consumers is our number-one priority and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that the tumble dryer modification programme is carried out in a safe and timely manner.”