Whirlpool has begun a recall of an estimated 500,000 tumble dryers over fire risk concerns – after it was ordered by the government to take action.
The recall relates to certain models of Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan, and Proline dryers built between 2004 and 2015.
Whirlpool says it has already resolved the issue for 1.7 million people after a safety campaign launched in 2015 following the discovery a fault that allows fluff from clothes to reach heating elements.
But the company has been accused by consumer groups of not doing enough and last month the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) took what it described as the “unprecedented” step of ordering it to carry out a recall.
Earlier this month the government body said Whirlpool had now agreed to take action.
Launching the recall on Monday, Whirlpool said it was encouraging any remaining owners of affected dryers to make contact immediately.
The company said anyone with an affected dryer should unplug it immediately and stop using it.
All consumers with a machine on the list that has not already been modified or replaced are entitled to a free replacement dryer including collection or disposal of the old appliance, a free in-home modification, a discounted upgrade, or refund depending on the age of the original.
Whirlpool vice president Jeff Noel said: “People’s safety is our top priority which is why we are expanding this important campaign.
“We are committed to doing the right thing for our customers and will continue to take every action possible to resolve this issue.
“The crucial message is please contact us immediately if you still own one of these tumble dryers and haven’t already had it modified or replaced by us.”
Mr Noel recently apologised to affected consumers when appearing before MPs on the business, energy and industrial strategy committee.
He also admitted that the number of unmodified tumble dryers in homes was estimated at between 250,000 and 800,000.
Whirlpool also revealed to MPs that in recent years it had logged 54 fires in its tumble dryers and that three of those were in models that had already been updated.
Consumer group Which? said there were “serious doubts” about the recall campaign given that hundreds of thousands of fire-risk tumble dryers remained in people’s homes four years after the fault was first discovered.
Which? director of advocacy Caroline Normand said: “Given it has taken the threat of government action for Whirlpool to act on this vital matter of public safety, ministers must closely monitor this recall.”