In an “unprecedented” step the government intends to order Whirlpool to recall hundreds of thousands of tumble dryers.
Owners have been urged to unplug their Whirlpool dryers immediately over fears they pose a fire risk.
Kelly Tolhurst the business minister said consumer safety is a “government priority” as she is making plans for the white goods company to recall remaining unmodified appliances.
Whirlpool has urged any of their customers who has an unmodified machine to contact them.
A spokeswoman for Whirlpool said, “Safety is our number one priority and we remain committed to resolving any affected tumble dryers that have not yet been modified.
“The crucial message to anyone who still owns an affected dryer and has not already had it modified by Whirlpool is to contact us immediately on 0800 151 0905.
“In the meantime, anyone with an affected dryer that has not been modified should unplug it and not use it until the modification has been completed.”
Whirlpool are in ongoing discussions with the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) “to agree additional measures we have proposed to reach consumers who have not yet engaged with this safety programme.”
Tolhurst told MPs on Tuesday in the Commons that after reviewing the company’s actions “we have informed Whirlpool of our intention to serve a recall notice as a next step of the regulatory process.”
“This is unprecedented action.”
Rachel Reeves, chairman of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS), said, “Finally, over a year since we called for a recall of defective machines and 18 months since the BEIS Committee reported on Whirlpool’s inadequate response to safety flaws, the government is at last showing some teeth and taking long overdue action on Whirlpool.
“The company’s modification of defective machines has proceeded at snail’s pace, leaving up to half-a-million unmodified and potentially unsafe tumble driers still in people’s homes.”
Consumer experts Which? said the recall was a “hugely significant step” and they said the notice should include Whirpool’s modified machines as well.
David Chaplin, head of campaigns at Which? said, “But there will be serious questions if this recall only addresses the 500,000 unmodified machines that Whirlpool has already struggled to locate.
“The Government must urgently explain what it is going to do about the millions of modified machines still in people’s homes, following serious concerns that have been raised by people who have experienced fires, smoke and burning despite the so-called fix.”