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Whirlpool may face prosecution over fires in the washing machine

Whirlpool may face prosecution over fires in the washing machine

Whirlpool has seen its washing machines getting lit with fire in the past couple of years. The company had recognized just around Christmas last year that more than half a million of its Hotpoint and Indesit appliances were at the risk of catching fire. Up to 519,000 washing machines in the United Kingdom are involved. 

Around 20 per cent of the total Hotpoint and Indesit appliances from the company are found to be directly affected. The series of fires are 79 fires and ten injuries date as far back as November 2016. It was in December last year that the company issued an alert over fire risk. The company, however, has denied delaying the recall of its machines.

Its fire-prone dryers had already been criticized for its huge disappointment. The dryers that have been in the market for 11 years were nothing short of fire danger. Owners have demanded the machines to be replaced. 

Now that its washing machines are under harsh criticism, the company said, “When the heating element in the washing machine is activated, in very rare cases a component in the door lock system can overheat, which, depending on product features, can pose a risk of fire.”

The door lock of the wash machines has been showing problems. It gets locked on its own and does not open, and then out of nowhere, there are signs of burn on the door lock. The affected customers have been made aware of the steps to follow in that the appliance should be unplugged and not operated until it gets a repair by engineers. However, there have been 79 cases of fire, and 10 people have been injured due to the defective washing machines of the company.

The fires have been caused by defects in the door lock system which can get heated over the limit and catch blazes when the appliance’s heating element is involved. The company is alleged in delayed warning of fire risk to its customers about the machines in question. Those Whirlpool brands which go by the names of Hotpoint and Indesit had sold the machines between October 2014 and February 2018 in the United Kingdom.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) was asked about the status quo. The OPSS had received a request for information under the freedom of information which it declined to provide. The OPSS argued that the situation was under investigation and that also means that criminal proceedings can be taken further. A lot of criminal proceedings can follow once the charges are proved.

Products by the company such as dryers and now washing machines have added insult to injury and caused a major blow to the company. The company if convicted, could be serving a maximum 20,000 Euros as fine and a prison term of 3 months. The washing machine brand fears of facing prosecution if it does not extend regular updates to the Office for Product Safety and Standards. The company is expected to give information on the product recall.

On being asked to present its stance on the allegations, the US appliances’ manufacturer denied all of it.

The company stated, “Claims that Whirlpool delayed notifying customers about this safety issue are entirely false. It is a complex issue, and it required several weeks of rigorous analysis to confirm which models are affected and therefore, which customers need to take action.”


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