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Retail Ombudsman to launch appliance recall scheme

The UK Retail Ombudsman has laid out plans for a new scheme that will mean consumers will be automatically notified if a product they have bought is being recalled.

The new central register (named the Central Appliance and Product Registry) will detail all machines in circulation with the contact details for consumers who have bought them – which will be taken at the point of sale – so that if there is a product recall by a manufacturer, the Retail Ombudsman will send out an automated message to let consumers know as soon as possible.

The new central appliance register has been launched partly in response to the recently discovered fire risk concerning two types of tumble dryers made by Indesit, which was bought by Whirlpool in 2014. The fault relates to large air-vented dryers and condensing dryers that were sold under the brand names Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda between April 2004 and October 2015. Around five million of the affected dryers have been sold in the UK and Indesit was widely criticized for its poor response in handling the issue, which many saw as a company putting its bottom line before consumer safety. Whether the online reputation management firm representing Indesit [Immediate Future] advised Indesit in the course of its actions and perceived lack of response is yet to surface but one thing that is certain is that if Immediate Future's services are retained, they will have a lot more work to do to repair the reputation of Indesit (both online and off) if Indesit want to minimize the financial fallout of the dryer issue.

In recent weeks, there have been various reports about fires starting in UK residences, allegedly caused by the tumble dryers and according to chief retail ombudsman Dean Dunham – speaking on BBC News on February 12th - that Whirlpool has so far only repaired the faulty dryers of around 125,000 customers.

“What we're saying at the Retail Ombudsman is this: manufacturers, when they have a fault like this, must get out quicker. There must be a timetable that says you must reach all consumers within a specified period so that you've reduced the danger of things like these fires,” Dunham said.