A new scheme is being launched to ensure people who buy faulty electrical goods receive automatic alerts in the event of a product recall.
It comes after hundreds of reports of fires thought to have been caused by faulty Whirlpool tumble dryers - including one in Guildford that left a family homeless earlier this month.Last year, the family of a man killed in a house fire claimed it may have been caused by the same fault.
In November the manufacturer revealed a fault affecting more than one hundred of its Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda models sold, which could cause fires if fluff came into contact with the heating element.
affected Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda tumble dryers
fires caused by faulty Hotpoint, Indesit and Credia tumble dryers since 2004 (source: Which?)
Despite the issue meaning more than five million could pose a potential fire hazard, only around 135,000 cases have so far been resolved.
Some of this delay may be caused by manufacturers, unaware in some cases of who owns its products after they have been sold to retailers, being unable to contact customers directly.
The company points out that it has contacted 3.8 million customers so far over the fault.
Automatic alerts if your appliance is dangerous
Until now, the onus has often been on consumers to check whether their models are affected in the event of recalls.
However, the new programme from the UK's Retail Ombudsman will see members of the public give their contact details at the point of sale - with those details then put on a central register.
In the event of a recall, the buyer will then be automatically notified by text or email if they need to act about their faulty appliance.
The ombudsman believes the register - due to be launched later this month - will speed up the process by which product issues are dealt with, potentially reducing the risk of accidents.
Owners warned not to use affected dryers
It comes as consumer watchdog Which? claims that Whirlpool is still advising people that affected dryers are safe to use, despite claims
The company's advice to owners of the products is:
Clean the lint filter after every use
Ensure proper venting
Don't leave dryers on when out of the house or asleep
However, Which? and the Electrical Safety First charity both recommend that owners do not use the dryers until they have been checked and modified by Whirlpool.
Is my tumble dryer likely to have been affected?
The Whirlpool fault affects two broad types of tumble dryers - the large air-vented dryer and the condensing dryer - sold under the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brand names between April 2004 and September 2015.
Potential owners are advised to look for a green dot sticker inside the dryer - either on the door, the rim or the back panel.
If you cannot find a green dot, call 0800 151 0905 or go to the Hotpoint or Indesit websites (owners of Creda dryers can check for their models on the Hotpoint site) and register for the product to be serviced and modified.
Tumble dryers sold under the Whirpool brand are not part of the safety alert.