Beko seems to be unable to catch a break on the situation it finds itself in over unsafe appliances and, over the holiday weekend, it would appear that Beko Australia has shed new light on the situation that the company finds itself in.
Current.com.au has reported that Beko Australia has issued a letter to National Associated Retail Traders of Australia (NARTA) members on the 27th March which is as follows in full with some adjustments made to enhance readability by Current.com:
As you may be aware there has been some recent local media coverage about an issue with regards to some of our products in the UK, which has resulted in house fires and allegedly the loss of life of some people. The company deeply regrets this tragic situation and any loss of life that may have occurred.
The information contained in articles in the UK media about Beko product issues has been in the public domain for some time. Despite Beko UK supplying the UK media with a full explanation of the extensive corrective action programs that the company have undertaken, some newspapers have taken a one-sided approach which has resulted in an unbalanced analysis of the situation.
Here in Australia, during the course of Monday and Tuesday this week, we have issued a statement to key media, which provided them with clarification on this and what Beko Australia’s position is in this regard.
The product issue that we have identified here relates specifically to our 7kg condenser dryer. We have identified eight units which are all located in Victoria. The issue is specifically with a faulty capacitor, which has been supplied by a third party manufacturer. Our factory has rectified the situation by changing the component and relocating the position within the product.
The [media] statement we … issued this week reads as follows:
The safety of our customers is our number one priority and we investigate every incident that is reported to us. Where issues are identified with Beko products we act quickly to correct the issue.
The Beko cooking and refrigeration products sold in the UK which have been the subject of media coverage in that country are not sold by Beko in Australia.
Due to an issue with a part supplied by another manufacturer there may be a fault with 7kg condenser drier (DCU7330X) under one very particular set of circumstances.
We have identified the eight people who have purchased this dryer in Australia, all of whom live in Victoria, and are in process of recalling the appliance so it can be replaced.
We have more detailed information for consumers on our website (www.beko.com.au), but anyone with any concerns or questions can contact Beko on 1300 282 356.
As mentioned in the statement to the media, we have identified the locations of the eight driers and our service team is currently working on replacing these products. We expect to replace all of these eight products, which will eliminate any potential threat.
We have also placed a notice on our website, which provides full details to consumers to respond to. Please refer to [this webpage].
I would also like to point out that we have advised the ACCC, who have placed a recall notification on their website. Please refer to this link for the detailed information.
The UK products that have allegedly caused the fires were Frost-free Fridge Freezers manufactured from 2000 to 2006, as well as Gas Cookers manufactured before 2009. In both cases, Beko UK undertook a recall action and achieved recall rates of 83 per cent and 60 per cent respectively. This is 3-to-4 times more than the industry average.
The ongoing press is leaking deliberately from a law firm in the UK who is handling litigation on behalf of the family who unfortunately lost a loved one. The law firm are well known for their actions and methods of gaining maximum exposure about an issue in an effort to receive a litigation pay out.
Whilst the loss of life is tragic under any circumstances, we have definitely taken huge steps to put maximum effort into recalls and changing production processes.
We will unfortunately, continue to see articles leaked by the UK lawyers in an effort to soften us up for the compensation which incidentally, although mentioned in … [news articles], is totally incorrect.
We have had NO demand on us for a compensation payment although we are sure it will come.
Rest assured, [we] will continue to focus our efforts on building the Beko brand and at the same time ensuring our products of the highest standards and quality.
If you have any questions or would like further clarification please do not hesitate to contact myself or [managing director] Mike Goadby.
General Manager Sales and Marketing
It is fairly clear from the content of this letter that Beko are hitting back a bit and consider that the law firm handling the compensation claim, we presume for the sad death due to a fridge freezer fire in London, is hyping up the press in a bid to either increase the level of compensation that might have to be paid or to make the process easier by encouraging Beko to settle out of court.
It is also pretty clear that Beko is not at all happy about the cover given to the matters by the press here in the UK, which is hardly a surprise given that Beko, to be fair, has done a lot to try to identify the products that could have a problem and resolve the issues.
Pretty strong stuff, leading us to believe that this story is far from over.