A major product recall is under way after London Fire Brigade confirmed that a Beko fridge freezer was the cause of a fire in a tower block in Bermondsey last week. LFB went on to explain that they believe that this model of fridge freezer has caused 20 fires in London alone over the last 3 years.
Given that Beko was alerted to the hazard by LFB in June 2010, serious questions are being asked as to why the problem is only now becoming widely known. Beko have certainly made some attempts to contact customers in the last 12 months – they claim to have written to 200 000 owners and modified 11 000 appliances – but with an estimated 500 000 owners in the UK there is much work still to be done. Absent the announcement yesterday from LFB, it is unclear what Beko were planning to do next.
Product recalls are very difficult to implement and, even with detailed prior planning, response rates from owners are notoriously low. Nevertheless, given the very serious nature of this problem, there is a widespread feeling that more should have been done. Recalls also pose serious issues for crisis communications: if you go to the Beko UK website today you find a 1-page statement about the product recall and an apology for the fact that “Our normal website is temporarily unavailable.”
If you think that your appliance may be affected go to the Beko website for more details on the recall.