479,000 potentially dangerous Bosch dishwashers in UK

Some 479,000 potentially dangerous Bosch dishwashers remain in UK homes. Photo: Dorset Fire and Rescue Service

What I have discovered over the last few weeks has convinced me that the UK's safety recall system is itself unsafe.

The product alert system has so many inconsistencies and inadequacies that now a vast range of manufacturers, consumer groups and safety authorities are demanding change.

My latest research has involved Bosch dishwashers - a batch of 632,000 sold between 1999 and 2005 has a fault which, in some circumstances, can cause fire.

A product alert was issued in July 2011, yet today ITV News is reporting that 478,940 remain unaccounted for.

That means only around 25% of the dishwashers have been traced, despite the voluntary efforts of Bosch. The firm placed adverts, sent 850,000 letters and phoned 140,000 customers.

They can repair faulty washers for free, taking about an hour.

We spoke to Stella Walker, who owned one of the affected Bosch dishwasher machines, but says she was unaware of the alert.

She told us:

It was absolutely petrifying to see your house in flames and smoke coming out of all your windows. And you don't expect your dishwasher to cause this mayhem.

Bosch told me there have been 269 fires caused by the fault, 14 deemed "serious". Experts fear it illustrates how the UK's product alert system isn't working.

Andy Reynolds of the Chief Fire Officers Association told us:

Bosch issued a safety notice saying some dishwashers are a potential fire hazard. Credit: Dorset Fire and Rescue Service

Probably the majority of house fires we go to where there is a fire caused by an electrical appliance, people are blissfully unaware there is a product recall in place for those items.

And in the vast majority of cases they wont know where to look for it, its just not widely publicised enough.

Joe O'Sullivan Bosch Operations Director, told me:

Any move to improve registration of appliances to make them easier to trace, we would support. We have sold something like 10 million dishwashers since 1999. People should go to our website if they are concerned.

The industry average for tracing faulty electricals is just 20% - that suggests that the most glaring fault - is the UK's recall system itself.

Although the vast majority of Bosch dishwashers are not affected, if you would like to check yours, please check the website links we have on this website.

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