Business

Warning over Whirlpool danger dryers being sold online

Tumble dryer that caused Shepherd's bush tower block fire Image copyright LFB
Image caption The damage caused by a dryer to a flat in Shepherd's Bush, London

Fire-prone tumble dryers which are being recalled are being sold by third-party vendors on online marketplaces, a charity has warned.

Electrical Safety First is alerting consumers to the risk of buying these products and urging websites to do more to prevent them being listed.

It wants model and serial numbers to be mandatory on listings, to allow cross-checking with recalls.

Whirlpool will recall some dangerous dryers, it was confirmed on Wednesday.

The company has spent nearly four years telling owners of these products - under the Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan and Proline brands - that they require a modification to rule out fire danger.

Now, the remaining dryers, of which up to 800,000 could still be in use, are being recalled, with owners given a free replacement. Although there have been some reports of modified dryers catching fire, these are not being recalled.

The affected dryers can be checked on a Whirlpool website.

Electrical Safety First said that eBay swiftly took down listings of these dangerous appliances, and conducted a broader search of the site, after the charity alerted it to cases of third-party sellers listing these products.

But it wants online marketplaces to ensure such items are not listed in the first place. To assist, the government must ensure there was a central recall database, it said.

This would help private sellers who might not realise that the product they were selling secondhand was actually unfit for sale.

"It is essential that mechanisms are put in place before an item is listed to ensure these items are safe," said Martyn Allen, technical director at Electrical Safety First.

"Basic measures such as model numbers and serial numbers being made mandatory would allow marketplaces to block a listing going live and prevent a potentially dangerous product entering someone's home."

A Whirlpool spokeswoman said: "We wholly support initiatives to prevent products that are subject to safety notices being sold on the secondhand market. This should never happen. We have been, and continue to, work with various online platforms to help achieve this.

"However, it is vital that consumers always register ownership of their appliances as soon as they acquire them, even if they are purchased secondhand, so the relevant manufacturer can contact them in the event of a safety issue."

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