Tumble drier scandal: Whirlpool 'sold out' of popular replacement machines

Katie Morley
Whirlpool is failing to keep up with booming demand for

Faulty Whirlpool tumble dryer owners are struggling to swap them for a safer machines as a number of popular replacement models are "out of stock", it has emerged.

The supply issues come after Whirlpool warned around 3 million customers not to use the devices, leading to a surge in demand for replacement tumble dryers.

Previously Whirlpool had said the machines were safe to use, as long as the owner was at home and not asleep. The U-turn came after the machines were linked to a number of fires in homes, prompting an intervention by trading standards. 

Customers with faulty dryers are being offered a choice between two solutions: buy a replacement at a discounted price of up to £99, or wait several months for a free modification.

However the replacement option appears to be under threat as Whirlpool is failing to keep up with booming demand for the machines. It has confirmed that it is currently sold out of three out of eight of the models it is offering to affected customers.

A spokesman declined to disclose which models were unavailable, how long they had been out of stock, or when they would come become available again. 

fire  - Credit:  LFB / SWNS.com

He said customers were willing to wait longer until popular colours, such as black and silver, were back in stock.

This is because dryers are considered a "long term" purchase which people want to match with the colour scheme in their kitchens. he said.

But experts warned the machines being out of stock was putting people and homes at an unnecessary risk of catching on fire. 

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Services, said: "This is another blow for customers with faulty Whirlpool dryers who are already facing a long wait to get a potentially dangerous machine out of their homes.

It's only natural that some people would want to buy a replacement rather than wait and Whirlpool should ensure that all the models are in stock."

The Daily Telegraph has heard from a number of frustrated Whirlpool customers who have been unable to get the replacement they want. 

Belinda Marsh says she first registered her dryer as faulty with Whirlpool in September but last week heard from Whirlpool, which informed her that the dryers which meet her requirements are all out of stock. She said she was told to keep looking online as they are "regularly" coming back in stock. 

Another, Mark Harding, said he had tried to order a new replacement dryer and found that only two dryer models were available. Whirlpool was not able to tell him when the dryers would be back in stock and had no way of notifying him when they were, he claimed. 

If Whirlpool's stock issues are not resolved it could lead to huge numbers of customers becoming tempted to use their machines as a result of being forced to dry their clothes by hanging them up for week or months on end.

Whirlpool is in the process of replacing or repairing an estimated 4 million potentially faulty machines across the UK – after identifying the safety issue in 2015.

The most up to date figures suggest that after a year Whirlpool has now fixed around 1.3m machines, meaning around nearly 3m customers are still using faulty models.

 

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