Manufacturer, Whirlpool, has come under criticism for not taking more immediate action on its faulty tumble dryers.
Various dryers made by Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda between April 2004 and September 2015 are subject to a safety notice about the fire risk, which is caused by excess fluff coming into contact with the heating element.
It’s worrying that the advice regarding use of these dryers has changed at this stage. There have been a number of very high profile incidents where they have caught fire and the manufacturer is making slow progress in their modification programme. In the meantime, consumers are left in limbo.
For claims against a manufacturer, the Consumer Protection Act 1987 is designed to protect the public and give them rights when buying goods and services. Among other things, it protects consumers where product liability is a concern. For example, if a manufacturer had failed to put certain safety information on a product and an injury occurred, under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 you would be entitled to bring a public liability claim.
It’s worrying that the advice regarding use of these dryers has changed at this stage.
The Whirlpool website now states: "Trading standards confirmed, following an internal review by independent experts, that the modification programme remains the most effective way of resolving this issue.
"As a result, we will continue with our efforts to provide consumers with a free of charge modification as quickly as possible. The modification programme will continue.
"Trading standards have also notified us that updated usage advice should be communicated to affected consumers.
"If your tumble dryer is affected by this issue then you should unplug it and do not use it until the modification has taken place."
The company had previously said the dryers were safe to use, providing they were not left unattended.
According to the BBC, Whirlpool has written to 3.8 million owners of the affected dryers, but as many as 2.4 million have not responded.
In October, the Government urged Whirlpool to do more to help customers with the dangerous tumble dryers after an investigation found one of the defective machines was responsible for a serious fire in a tower block. Fire chiefs say a faulty Indesit model was the cause of the blaze in an 18-storey block in West London, which took 120 firefighters to extinguish. More than 100 families had to be evacuated, but thankfully no one was seriously injured.
The London Fire Brigade, which tackled the fire in Shepherd's Bush, said it agreed that owners should not use the dryers until they were repaired.
Michael Hardacre is a principal lawyer, specialising in personal injury at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.
If you would like help or advice about an injury you have suffered due to a faulty product call Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.