BBC News

'We lost nearly everything'- your stories of broken appliances

By Richard Irvine-Brown
BBC News


According to consumer group Which?, nearly 12,000 fires in the past three years in Britain have been the fault of defective white goods and kitchen equipment.

BBC News website users have shared their experiences of electrical home goods gone wrong, sometimes causing life-changing damage to their home.

John Gardner, Tranent, Scotland

image copyrightJohn Gardner
image caption"I put the machine on, went to work and an hour later the house was on fire... We were out of our house for six months and lost nearly everything"

We had a house fire in August 2013 caused by a faulty Bosch dishwasher.

We had a notice of a potential fault with the front panel. A third-party engineer arranged by Bosch came to the house to check it and change the board on the machine.

We could not get the machine out, it was pushed into a gap a little too small for it. It had become stuck in between the kitchen units. The engineer refused to work on it as he could not get the plug out of the wall, which was located behind the machine, to ensure it was not live. We even suggested turning off the power to the whole house at the main in box. No! The plug had to come out.

Instead, he said if it's never got warm on the front panel then it will be ok. The rest is history.

Our insurance company are still pursing them and Bosch accepted 50% liability. We were out of our house for six months and lost nearly everything. The effect on us and the children is still there today.

It doesn't matter how much warranty you have, things go wrong. I put the machine on, went to work and an hour later the house was on fire.

The firemen told us they were seeing more fires caused by washing machines left on by people while they are out.

Tim Kent, Tower Bridge, London

image copyrightTim Kent
image caption"Luckily, I was at home," says Tim. "The entire inside of the boat is wood, all very flammable"

In February 2015 my three-year-old Indesit washer-drier malfunctioned sending out lots of smoke and a horrible smell of burning. Luckily, I was at home at the time as I live on a houseboat.

Everything surrounding the machine is made of wood. In fact, the entire inside of the boat is wood, all very flammable.

It happened without any warning. There was a smell of smoke and smoke pouring out from behind the machine. It was a surprise to me. I presumed EU health and safety standards meant these things would be safe.

I never registered the product as I did not want to be constantly pestered by call centres. I have now learned I might also have been able to get it repaired had I registered it, or if I still had the receipt.

I went on eBay for the parts to repair it myself and found if I'd registered it, it would be fixed for free.

I shall register the next one, but always make sure I am in when these things are on. Statistically, are these machines becoming more dangerous I wonder? Mine went wrong because of a printed circuit board, presumably a cheap component.