Owners of potentially dangerous Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda tumble dryers have been warned by the appliances' maker Whirlpool not to use the machines until they've been repaired, in a U-turn on its previous advice that they could be used under supervision.
Millions of tumble dryers sold between April 2004 and September 2015 are a potential fire risk, the manufacturer has said. We reported last March that some customers had been told they would have to wait months for an engineer to visit to fix their machines.
Around 200,000 are still awaiting repair by parent company Whirlpool, according to the firm's own figures. However, it's now updated the safety notice websites for the affected brands to state that if your tumble dryer is affected by this issue "you should unplug it and do not use it until the modification has taken place".
The firm said it had made the change because "Trading Standards have notified us that updated usage advice should be communicated to affected consumers".
In a statement Whirlpool added: "We are now very close to having provided resolutions for all those customers who have registered so far. To date, 1.5 million consumers have registered and of these, we have resolved more than 1.3 million cases. We expect all those registered to have been resolved within a matter of weeks. Typically, it now takes less than a month between a customer registering and being visited by an engineer."
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How to check if your machine's affected
If you've a Hotpoint, Indesit or Creda tumble dryer sold between April 2004 and September 2015, there's a chance you may need an engineer visit (though Whirlpool-branded machines are not affected).
To check if your machine requires a repair, you can visit the safety websites of Hotpoint, Indesit or Swan (another affected brand) and enter your model and serial numbers. Owners of Creda machines can check the Hotpoint website.
How to try to get a refund if you're still waiting for a repair
Since Whirlpool first announced in November 2015 that millions of potentially dangerous tumble dryers would have to be repaired, MoneySavingExpert.com has been inundated with emails from concerned customers facing a delay of months for the company to send round an engineer to fix their machine free of charge.
Last year, we published a guide with three tricks to try if you don't want to wait months for a repair, or would prefer a refund or replacement anyway. In brief, these were:
- Ask Whirlpool for a refund or replacement instead of a repair. While the official word from the company is that it isn't offering repairs or replacements, lots of MoneySavers who've tried their luck have had success going down this road – particularly when using social media to complain.
- Go to the shop you bought the dryer from. Many MoneySavers have had success contacting the retailer and seeking a refund or replacement under the Consumer Rights Act (and the Sale of Goods Act, which applies to goods bought before 1 October 2015). See our Consumer Rights guide for more on this.
- Go to your credit card company if you paid on a credit card. This involves seeking a Section 75 refund – for more info on how this works and how to claim, see our Section 75 guide.
In October last year we heard from one Hotpoint tumble dryer owner who was refused a Section 75 refund by his credit card provider, only to have that refusal overturned by the ombudsman – paving the way for other customers to mount a challenge.