By Tom Kelly Investigations Editor For The Daily Mail
Published: 00:00 GMT, 1 November 2019 | Updated: 03:45 GMT, 1 November 2019
MPs have savaged white goods maker Whirlpool today, accusing it of protecting its reputation instead of fixing potentially lethal tumble dryers.
The firm was slammed as ‘chilling’ and ‘dangerous’ for using gagging orders to silence tumble dryer fire victims after the Daily Mail first exposed the ‘disgraceful’ practice.
Bosses at the manufacturer – whose brands include Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan and Proline – were accused of putting public relations ahead of customer safety when dealing with blazes in faulty machines.
This Hotpoint tumble dryer caught fire and allegedly caused '£10,000 worth of damage'. MPs have savaged white goods maker Whirlpool today, accusing it of protecting its reputation instead of fixing potentially lethal tumble dryers. Whirlpool deny this fire was caused by the tumble dryer
It was ‘astonishing’ that up to 800,000 defective dryers were still in people’s homes four years after Whirlpool revealed the problem, the business, energy and industrial strategy committee said.
The issue has caused more than 750 UK house fires since 2004 so the committee was especially critical of the ‘lamentable’ use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) on fire victims who received compensation.
The MPs’ report warned this could stop customers sharing safety problems and leave regulators in the dark about risks.
Jemma Spurr, 35, spent months waiting for compensation for all the damage to her five-bedroom rented home in Hampshire following the blaze in 2018
A mother who fled her home with her children after a supposedly fixed tumble dryer caught fire had to sign a gagging order before receiving compensation.
Jemma Spurr, 35, spent months waiting for compensation for all the damage to her five-bedroom rented home in Hampshire following the blaze in 2018.
The mother-of-four said it was lucky no-one died after her Hotpoint, pictured, started the fire.
Whirlpool, the parent company of Hotpoint, agreed to pay her more than £11,000 only after she signed to say she would not discuss the fire with anyone, including broadcasters and social media.
Whirlpool said it ‘never used legal... enforcement mechanisms to prevent public discussions of alleged incidents’.
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