Whirlpool recall: More than 400,000 fire-risk washing machines still unaccounted for

Only 70,000 people who own potentially-defective washing machines that are at risk of catching on fire have come forward to repair or replace their appliance.

Whirlpool began their recall of 519,000 washing machines last week, after announcing the move last December following dozens of incidents of machines catching fire.

More than 1.4 million people have contacted Whirlpool since the announcement - even crashing the website for the first 24 hours - but Whirlpool said more than 95% of respondents were not affected by the recall.

About 2,000 faulty machines were replaced over the Christmas period, with a further 68,000 to be fixed or replaced "in a matter of weeks," according to the corporation.

More than 1.4 million people contacted Whirlpool since the announcement Credit: AP

The machines identified have a flaw with the door-locking system that could lead to them overheating and potentially catching fire.

A number of Hotpoint and Indesit machines built between 2014 and 2018 are affected - the full list of model numbers is at the bottom of this article.

Owners of such machines are advised to contact Whirlpool directly and to unplug their machines and not to use them, leaving many unable to wash clothes.

  • Appliance repairer Jake Duthie explains where you can find the model number on your washing machine

What will happen to your washing machine?

Whirlpool said it offers affected customers the choice of a free repair of the affected parts of their existing machine or a free-of-charge, like-for-like replacement washing machine.

A Whirlpool spokesperson said once registered, the repair or replacement of a faulty machine should take place within "a matter of weeks."

"There are still lots of slots for January, so it's important that people get in touch," he said.

"Thousands of replacements and repairs (are) taking place daily."

Whirlpool offered customers a free repair or replacement of affected machines Credit: AP

What about a refund?

The company said it would not be offering refunds for the affected machines, despite calls from consumer groups.

Advocacy group Which? said it had been contacted by "numerous" Whirlpool customers earlier in January who had already bought a new machine because they felt they could not wait.

Sue Davies, the head of consumer protection at Which?, said it was "unacceptable" that consumers could be left without machines for "many months."

"Particularly when there is also no offer to cover consequential costs such as trips to the laundrette... the company should do the right thing and offer customers a refund," she said.

Indesit models are also at risk Credit: ITV

But a Whirlpool spokesperson said refunding customers wasn't the most "effective" way of removing the risk of faulty machines in homes.

"Replacing or repairing affected units completely removes the risk of this issue and avoids any possibility of the machines entering the second-hand market," they said.

A 2013 study by the Electrical Safety Council charity found the average product recall in the UK only succeeded in removing 10 to 20 percent of dangerous products from customers' homes.

A Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee Investigation following the Grenfell Tower inquiry said the 2017 fire that killed 72 people was started by an electrical fault in a Hotpoint fridge-freezer.

Here's the full list of model numbers of Hotpoint and Indesit washing machines in the recall.

  • FML 742P UK Hotpoint

  • WMAOD 743G UK Hotpoint

  • WMAOD 743P UK Hotpoint

  • WMAQB 721P UK.M Hotpoint

  • WMAQC 641P UK.M Hotpoint

  • WMAQC 741G UK Hotpoint

  • WMAQC 741P UK Hotpoint

  • WMAQC 741P UK.M Hotpoint

  • WMAQF 621G UK Hotpoint

  • WMAQF 621P UK Hotpoint

  • WMAQF 641 P UK.M Hotpoint

  • WMAQF 721G UK Hotpoint

  • WMAQF 721P UK.M Hotpoint

  • WMAQL 621G UK Hotpoint

  • WMBF 742G UK Hotpoint

  • WMBF 742K UK Hotpoint

  • WMBF 742P UK Hotpoint

  • WMBF 742P UK.M Hotpoint

  • WMBF 763P UK Hotpoint

  • WMEF 722 BC UK Hotpoint

  • WMEF 742 P UK Hotpoint

  • WMEUF 722P UK Hotpoint

  • WMEUF 743G UK Hotpoint

  • WMEUF 743P UK Hotpoint

  • WMFG 741P UK Hotpoint

  • WMFG 741P UK.M Hotpoint

  • WMFUG 742 P UK.M Hotpoint

  • WMFUG 742G UK Hotpoint

  • WMFUG 742P UK Hotpoint

  • WMFUG 842P UK.M Hotpoint

  • WMJLF 842P UK Hotpoint

  • WMJLL 742P UK Hotpoint

  • WMSAQG 621P UK Hotpoint

  • WMXTF 742G UK Hotpoint

  • WMXTF 742K UK Hotpoint

  • WMXTF 742P UK Hotpoint

  • WMXTF 742P UK.M Hotpoint

  • WMXTF 842P UK.M Hotpoint

  • WMYL 7151PS UK Hotpoint

  • XWA 81252X K UK Indesit

  • XWA 81252X W UK Indesit

  • XWD 71452X K UK Indesit