Ellen Shipton
Solicitor
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Date Published:01 Jul 2019 Last Updated:12 Apr 2021

Faulty appliances – is your home at risk?

Dispute Resolution

Household appliances have frequently featured in the news of late due to the fire risk that they can present. These stories often begin with a household appliance (washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers and fridges) catching fire and causing serious damage to homes and, on occasion, injuring people. This can result in disputes with insurers and manufacturers.

Last month, a dishwasher caught fire during its cycle in Northumberland and caused significant damage to the family home. This month, in Australia, a washing machine caught fire, also considerably damaging a family home. The model of washing machine involved in these incidences had already been recalled by Samsung but the owners were unaware of this and so continued to use the machine without realising the risk it presented.

Whirlpool (who also own a number of other household names including Indesit, Hotpoint and Maytag) have revealed that they have, in the past, produced millions of tumble dryers that are potentially dangerous. In November 2015, Whirlpool acknowledged that there was a risk that 5.3 million tumble dryers, sold between April 2004 and September 2015, could catch fire.

There have been at least 750 fires since 2004 caused by faulty appliances. In June 2019, Whirlpool estimated that there are between 300,000 and 500,000 faulty tumble dryers currently in circulation in the UK. In response to this, the London Fire Brigade (through the Local Government Association) announced that owners are “unwittingly playing Russian roulette”. A full list of affected models has never been published by Whirlpool.

If you are concerned about your appliances the best advice would be to utilise online checkers on manufacturers’ websites to check that your model of appliance is safe to use. In addition to this precaution, it is advisable to:

  • Register your appliances with their manufacturer, to enable them to contact you about recalls and respond to any recall notices;
  • Do not run appliances when you are out or at night; and
  • Have valid Home Insurance in place.

The difficulty with the final recommendation is that, even though you may be insured, you may face difficulty in claiming money back for a faulty appliance.

How Ellis Jones can help you

If you have suffered a loss as a result of a faulty appliance and are either having difficulty in obtaining a pay out from your
insurer or you would like to make a claim against the manufacturer, our specialist team of legal experts will be able to assist.

Please contact the Dispute Resolution Team on 01202 525333 or email disputeresolution@ellisjones.co.uk for more information on how we can help you.