My parents are stuck with an unsafe washing machine


In January you featured a complaint in response to the recall of Hotpoint washing machines that posed a potential fire risk. Nine months on, my elderly parents are still waiting for a replacement for theirs, which they bought in December 2015.

They were told by the manufacturer, Whirlpool, that the appliance could not be repaired; they were instead sent labels reminding them not to use it unless they absolutely had to, and then only at 20C (69F).

Despite numerous phone calls and emails to Whirlpool, we are no further forward. By July, my parents were so stressed that I took over. When I finally managed to speak to customer service I was told they had no idea when the replacement machines would be available. This seemed strange as I could easily go into my local branch of Currys or John Lewis to buy one.

My parents cannot possibly go through another winter without a washing machine. My mum has been handwashing everything and is exhausted with the situation. When does it become a case of Whirlpool having to issue refunds? The longer these faulty machines are left in customers’ houses, the more likely they are to start using them again. The consequences could be fatal for some.

The announcement – just before last Christmas – of the January recall of more than half a million washing machines was terrible timing, and we were disappointed to hear that your parents have been left in limbo for more than nine months.

After our intervention things speeded up somewhat. A Whirlpool spokesperson declined to explain what had happened but said: “We are sorry to hear about this customer’s experience. We have been in touch and can confirm we are delivering a replacement next week.”

The company said that since launching the recall, more than 4 million people had contacted it and more than 95% were given “reassurance and peace of mind” that their machine was not affected. Of the 260,000 customers who registered an affected model, more than 90% of cases had been resolved, it said. Clearly your parents were in the unresolved category but they have now finally received their new, admittedly more basic, machine.