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Owners of 500,000 Hotpoint, Indesit etc dryers urged to unplug to avoid fire risk – check yours now

The Government plans to order Whirlpool to recall an estimated 500,000 unmodified tumble dryers due to concerns they pose a fire risk – here's what to do if you're affected.

In 2015, Whirlpool issued a safety warning about millions of dryers after it acquired the Hotpoint and Indesit brands and discovered some machines had a fault which made them a fire risk. The fault has been blamed for causing 750 fires over an 11-year period.

The affected brands are Hotpoint, Creda, Indesit, Proline and Swan.

The machines in question need a fix to make them safe to use – but it's thought there are still around 500,000 unmodified dryers, which could pose a fire risk if used.

Anyone who owns one of these unmodified dryers is being urged to unplug the machines and not use them until they're fixed.

But Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst has now told MPs that the Government has "informed Whirlpool of our intention to serve a recall notice as a next step of the regulatory process", saying this was an "unprecedented action".

A review by the Office of Product and Safety Standards found that there was a low risk of harm from modified dryers and said consumers could carry on using them – but consumer group Which? suggested the recall should include modified machines as well.

How can I tell if my dryer's affected?

The safety warning applies to some types of tumble dryer manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015.

Affected brands are Creda, Hotpoint, Indesit, Proline and Swan.

If you have one of these machines, you can check whether it needs a fix by following the instructions and entering your model number on the Hotpoint, Indesit or Swan safety website.

Whirlpool says Whirlpool-branded tumble dryers are not affected by the recall.

I've got an affected dryer – can I get a refund?

If your unmodified dryer is affected by the safety flaw, you should stop using it immediately and unplug the machine.

Whirlpool says owners of affected machines should call 0800 151 0905 to book a free safety fix from a Whirlpool engineer.

Its official position has always been that it won't offer refunds for the affected tumble dryers, though we've asked Whirlpool if there's been any change to this position, and will update this story when we hear back.

But unofficially, there are some steps you can take to try and get a refund for an affected machine. They're not guaranteed, but we've heard of some people having success:

  • Ask Whirlpool for a refund anyway. You can ask for a refund by calling Whirlpool on 0800 151 0905, getting in touch through its contact form or by using Resolver to complain.

    This option may be a long shot, but we've heard it's worked for some forumites in the past.

  • Ask the retailer you bought the tumble dryer from for a refund. If you bought your machine in the last six years (or five years if you're in Scotland), you can try and get a refund from the retailer you bought it from under the Consumer Rights Act, or the Sale of Goods Act if you bought it before October 2015.

    When you buy an item, your contract is with the retailer rather than the manufacturer – and it must be of satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable length of time.

    After six months, it's down to you to prove it doesn't meet these criteria if you want a refund. But you can try and cite the safety warnings and threat of Government recall.

    See our Consumer Rights guide for more info.

  • Ask your credit card company for a refund. If you bought your tumble dryer using a credit card and it cost more than £100, you can ask your credit card company for a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which makes the credit company jointly liable with the retailer when things go wrong.

  • Ask your debit card company for a refund. In some cases, if you buy goods on a debit card you may be able to get a refund from your bank through the chargeback scheme – although this is a customer service promise rather than a legal obligation. But unlike Section 75, there can be stricter time limits, so it's unlikely to work in this scenario.

    See our Section 75 guide for more info.

What does Whirlpool say?

A Whirlpool spokesperson said: "Safety is our number one priority and we remain committed to resolving any affected tumble dryers that have not yet been modified.

"The crucial message to anyone who still owns an affected dryer and has not already had it modified by Whirlpool is to contact us immediately on 0800 151 0905.

"In the meantime, anyone with an affected dryer that has not been modified should unplug it and not use it until the modification has been completed."

'The company's modification of defective machines has proceeded at snail's pace'

Whirlpool is set to appear before the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee in July.

Committee chair Rachel Reeves said: "Finally, over a year since we called for a recall of defective machines and 18 months since the BEIS Committee reported on Whirlpool's inadequate response to safety flaws, the Government is at last showing some teeth and taking long overdue action on Whirlpool.

"The company's modification of defective machines has proceeded at snail's pace, leaving up to half-a-million unmodified and potentially unsafe tumble driers still in people's homes.

"It's not clear what has prompted this belated recall announcement – the Government need to set out why they have taken this action and how they meet ongoing concerns about those machines which have been modified."

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