Below is the text of the statement made by Kelly Tolhurst, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in the House of Commons on 10 July 2019.
The Government’s number one priority is public safety. We are committed to ensuring that the UK continues to have one of the strongest product safety regimes in the world.
I updated the House on 4 April and on 17 June. Following the publication of the review by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) into the Whirlpool tumble dryer modification programme, I informed the House that OPSS had issued a decision letter placing a number of requirements on the company. Having reviewed Whirlpool’s response to the Government’s requirements, OPSS determined that it was inadequate.
Accordingly, on 4 June, OPSS notified Whirlpool of their intention to serve a recall notice in respect of as many as 800,000 remaining unmodified tumble dryers currently in use.
I am able to confirm that Whirlpool is now to issue a full product recall of all unmodified tumble dryers from consumers’ homes.
Whirlpool has agreed to undertake a number of actions required by OPSS, and which have been reviewed by an expert panel, consisting of an independent Queen’s counsel and three chief scientific advisors from the Home Office, health and safety executive and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Under the recall, consumers with an unmodified, affected Whirlpool tumble dryer will be entitled to a new replacement machine. This will be delivered and installed, with the old one removed, at no cost. A refund based on product age or a modification will be available to those consumers who do not want to take up the offer of a replacement dryer. Whirlpool have agreed to implement additional quality assurance procedures for any new modifications in consumers’ homes.
Whirlpool will deliver a significant consumer outreach campaign with wide ranging publicity of the product recall. Whirlpool have committed to deliver improved identification of, and outreach to, vulnerable consumers. They guarantee that there will be no charges for the delivery, installation or removal of affected machines. Whirlpool have also committed, and will be legally required, to provide OPSS with effective and timely reporting of progress made in the product recall.
As part of OPSS monitoring of the programme, OPSS is receiving weekly data reports from Whirlpool and it continues to monitor the situation very closely.
The actions taken by OPSS illustrate once again this Government’s commitment to ensuring the safety of consumers. No other European country has used the recall process in this way, and on this scale before for domestic appliance safety.
OPSS will closely monitor the recall and it will take further action should it be necessary to ensure public safety. It will continue to work closely with other Government Departments and key stakeholders to raise awareness of the recall.
The message for consumers who have an unmodified dryer is to stop using and unplug their dryer immediately and to contact Whirlpool for a replacement.