Indesit companies downplay the extent of the exploding washing machines
A Watchdog report last year highlighted a fault that was causing some Indesit machines to explode at the peak of its spin cycle. Whilst at top speed the drum would tear apart, devastating the machine, firing out debris and parts and damaging surrounding work surfaces in the process.
Published 8 May 2013:
At the time, Indesit assured us that the fault was confined to two models (the WIXL143 and WIXE167) and that ‘only a small number of machines are affected.’ However, since then we’ve heard reports of a further 50 explosions, all of which appear identical to the ones we’ve seen before, forcing us to raise the matter with the manufacturer once again. (Full list of models identified below).
Leigh Rothery watched our last Watchdog report and, thanks to Indesit’s assurances the problem was confined to just two models, she presumed she needn’t worry about her own Indesit, a W1XL163 .
How wrong she was. In March this year, her washing machine also exploded. She told Watchdog of how the soap drawer burst out of the machine, hitting her in the back and winding her, giving her whiplash and trapping a nerve, injuries which months on still require treatment.
Despite the pain this caused, Leigh is relieved these are the only injuries sustained, as her friend’s young daughter had been playing on the floor in front of the machine at the time it exploded.
Worryingly, Leigh isn’t the only person we know of who’ve been injured by these exploding washing machines. Sarah Blackshaw from Leicester had a IWC6165 machine that broke on 6th December 2012. The soap drawer hit her young son Harry, below the right eye leaving him with a bruise.
We have now heard of these explosions happening to 14 different models made by Indesit and its sister company, Hotpoint.
The models that Watchdog have identified as being affected are:
So how long have Indesit and Hotpoint known they had an issue?
Watchdog has obtained a document that shows Indesit were aware as far long ago as 2010. This document, distributed to their repair engineers, was coded 'red' for a major safety issue. It instructs their engineers to check for signs of splitting or cracking along the seam of the machines’ drum, and instructs them to fit a safety bracket along the top of the machine if there isn't one there already. Apparently this is meant to stop any debris being thrown out of the top of the machine in the event of the drum splitting.
But even if the bracket does its job, it won’t stop parts like the soap dish being flung from the front of the machine.
And it certainly won’t prevent the split from happening in the first place.
In the vast majority of cases involving our viewers, Indesit paid compensation for damage. They also replaced the machine quickly. But there are some things that they can’t fix so easily.
Leigh Rothery comments, 'They need to recall all of them and get it sorted because that can really injure somebody. Indesit needs to sort it out.'
But will they?
INDESIT COMPANIES (INDESIT/HOTPOINT):
We are very sorry that some of our consumers have experienced problems with their appliances.
At Indesit Company, the safety of our appliances is our priority and we continually monitor the performance of all our products. We treat any issues regarding the safety of our machines with the utmost seriousness. The particular cases highlighted on the programme, as well as the cases that have been brought to our attention, have been dealt with promptly and on a case by case basis.
The incidents outlined have been identified as a technical issue with a very small percentage of washing machine production during periods of 2007 to 2009 could be affected. On becoming aware of the potential issue it was risk assessed under General Product Safety Regulations and was classified as ‘Very Low’ risk therefore it was concluded that no direct consumer notification was required.
We take consumer concerns very seriously, through our ongoing and continual monitoring of all our products in the market place we identified a further improvement to reduce the risk to ‘Extremely Low'.
We would also like to inform consumers that this problem does not affect any Indesit or Hotpoint model on sale today.
Consumer satisfaction is extremely important to us, Indesit Company apologises to our consumers for any inconvenience caused, and we reaffirm our commitment to delivering quality, reliable products.
Any consumers with questions regarding their machines should visit the following to find out more information and support: