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Whirlpool reveals number of faulty dryers could be as high as 800,000

Whirlpool has admitted the number of faulty tumble dryers in homes across the country could be far higher than first thought, with company execs telling the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that the true number could be 800,000.

The company also revealed that in recent years, it had logged 54 fires in its tumble dryers and admitted that three of those were models that had already been updated.

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 machines in question need a fix to make them safe to use.

Last month, the Government said it would order Whirlpool – which produces products for Hotpoint, Creda, Indesit, Proline and Swan – to recall an estimated 500,000 unmodified tumble dryers due to concerns they pose a fire risk.

Whirpool says anyone who has an affected dryer should contact it immediately for a modification.

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 HotpointIndesit 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 modification.

Its official position has always been that it won't offer refunds for the affected tumble dryers (though we're currently checking if this has changed). 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: "We were pleased to have the opportunity to update the committee on our tumble dryer campaign. The Office for Product Safety and Standards recently concluded a comprehensive year-long review of the dryer programme which confirmed that the modification is effective in resolving the issue.

"Safety is always our number one priority and we remain committed to resolving all unmodified dryers affected by this issue. As we updated the committee, we are expanding our recall campaign to include further options to encourage remaining consumers to come forward and remedy their unmodified appliances."

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

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