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Tumble dryer fire risk: Lengthy wait for repairs

A tumble dryer Image copyright Thinkstock

Millions of tumble dryers are still to be repaired in a fire safety campaign - but owners face a wait of weeks for an engineer.

Owners of large air-vented dryers and condensing dryers under the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands may need to have them fixed.

Parent company Whirlpool said eight million affected dryers had been sold in the last 11 years, including five million in the UK.

So far, 70,000 cases had been resolved.

Other customers are facing a long wait for a visit. Some have reported an eight-week waiting list.

"Given the large number of dryers affected, we currently have a wait time of many weeks before the repair service can be completed," the company, which has 1,000 engineers, said.

"This is not up to our high standard of service and we are working to address it."

More than three million people are being written to about the safety notice, with 1.8 million expected to receive letters in the next two to three weeks.

Online checker

Whirlpool bought manufacturer Indesit, including the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands, in October 2014.

Investigations into reports of fires led eventually to the huge programme of alerts and repairs announced in November.

The company is asking owners to check whether their machine is one of those affected and, if so, to contact the company through Hotpoint's dedicated website or the matching Indesit site. The model number, usually found on the back of the dryer door, can be entered in the online checker.

If action is needed, an engineer will visit to mend the machine - a process that the company said could take an hour.

Letters

Image caption An online model checker has been set up for worried owners

The company has written to 1.5 million customers so far, and expects to contact a further 1.8 million by the start of February.

The company said a substantial number of the millions of dryers sold over the last 11 years would have been replaced or scrapped.

So far, more than 625,000 customers have registered for a repair, the company said.

With many facing a lengthy wait, the company said it was offering discounts on new products for those whose appliance was more than two years old.

While waiting for a repair, owners are being advised not to use their dryer when they are out of the house or asleep, and to clean the filter after every cycle.

Register warning

Earlier this month, charity Electrical Safety First urged shoppers to register their electrical products with the manufacturer in order to receive details of any recalls.

It said faulty appliances, in general, caused £41.6m of damage in the UK every year and 46 deaths were caused each year by electrical fires.

Since 2011 there have been more than 300 different recalled electrical items, and the charity said that the success rate for recalling items in the UK was rarely higher than 10% to 20%.

"We know electrical products are high on shopping lists this sale season so we are urging the public to keep their families and homes safe by making a habit of registering a new product as soon as they get it home," said Emma Apter, of Electrical Safety First.

"People may think it's too much hassle or there is no benefit of providing contact details but an unregistered appliance can be a hidden danger in homes as it's difficult for manufacturers to trace them."

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