4 months ago we alerted you to potential tragedies in 25,000 Australian kitchens, unbelievably, serious fires caused by ordinary dishwashing machines. An electrical fault causes them to suddenly ignite and burn down kitchens, sometimes destroying whole houses. Our story put you on notice, thereby saving saving countless homes - maybe lives. But still more accidents, more fires are happening lately .. many people still don't realise they're living with potential firebombs, likely to destroy everything in their path.
Dangerous dishwashers that have caused 239 fires in Australia, burning down bench tops, whole kitchens, in some cases setting alight, melting and smoke-destroying whole homes and their contents. The Electrolux fire-bombs are mostly in family homes, but also in offices, rental properties, schools, childcare centres.
Even with a nation-wide recall, NSW Fair Trading banning their sale, and the manufacturer supposedly repairing or replacing thousands of faulty machines, the fire toll keeps rising and rising.
Alison Davis is furious that an electrical store chain was selling the dangerous dishwashers one month after they were recalled and no record was kept of people who bought them. Electrolux has admitted to us it was due to a "communication problem with retailers" that problem could have cost Alison her new family home.
"The time between me noticing that was glowing must have been 30 seconds till when there were flames leaping from the dishwasher, and if you were anywhere but not in the room, you'd have never noticed it" said Alison David.
"The serviceman came out twice, first time he did something to the dishwasher and said yes that's fine, then we had another call from Electrolux about 2 months later, the serviceman came out again." Matthew and Amanda Wood naturally assumed their dishwasher was perfectly safe, but 2 months later when they were out, a neighbour called .. their house was engulfed in flames.
They've had to rent for 3 months while the rooms were rebuilt. Electrolux's solution - they told the Woods to claim damages from their insurer, but they're still around $6000 out of pocket for excess, some rental, time off work and inconvenience.
25,000 faulty dishwashers have been sold in Australia. Take note - the 3 culprits are certain Electrolux, Electrolux Dishlex and Westinghouse dishwashers purchased since April 2007. The dangerous dishwasher models are:
Electrolux Dishlex Models:
The serial numbers range between 70700000 & 72400000.
"We know they're in the market place. We don't know where they are - so we're trying to get in touch with people so we can go and attend to them." John Brown of Electrolux says the dishwashers were first recalled in December 2007.
The company's advertisements have tried to alert owners to stop using them and call Electrolux to arrange an inspection but by mid-year 5,000 of the 25,000 owners still couldn't be tracked down and fires continued.
But the horror is that many of the early repairs Electrolux conducted on the dishwashers - did not fix the fault .. more fires, more destruction. If you have one, it must be repaired, through Electrolux, using the correct method, denoted by a round green sticker near the serial number stating "Inspected".
There still are almost 4000 dangerous dishwashers out there owners still don't know about. And the problem is - many were bought as factory seconds with different serial numbers from those purchased from normal retailers. There's no way of tracing who the buyers were.
The serial numbers for "second" quality Electrolux dishwashers, ie, those sold in seconds stores after April 2007, have a serial number, any serial number, with the prefix A, B, or C. Contact Electrolux on 1800 001 218 to arrange an inspection free of charge.
"We want to make sure that not only are the goods that they purchase fit for purpose and of merchantable quality, most importantly that they are safe and that they are going to do the job, and not cause any damage to property or must importantly to human life" says Virginia Judge, NSW Minister for Fair Trading.
If you've had a fire, any damage or costs you've incurred not covered by insurance should be reimbursed by Electrolux. Burnt dishwashers should also be replaced by the company. If you discover you have one of the affected models, contact Electrolux on 1800 001 218.
"Immediately stop using the dishwashing machine, turn it off, do not turn it back on. Contact Electrolux, if you need further advice, seek advice from your Consumer Protection Agency" advises Virginia Judge.