Consumer group Which has said today that they want to see fireproof labels on appliances as identifying them has become harder or at least, that's the upshot.
We've got a problem with some of this as long-standing readers might imagine.
First off, who are trying to identify the burnt out husks?
Second, what caused it as most often, the actual cause is unknown or not proven. Often as not there's not even a substantial investigation into the cause, a topic we've covered several times on here in relation to fires. It's usually a case of "The __WHATEVER__ went on fire"... case closed.
But the third one is a bit of a thing with the massive rise of own label brands and manufacturer rebranded products as so many of them are fundamentally the same products once you remove the shiny aesthetic bits.
It's not uncommon for one washing machine for example or the core to it, to be sold under ten different brands or more and the only place you'd be able to see who sold the rebadged product is on the facia, that will be toast or the rating plate that, will also be toast.
Pointing the finger at the party responsible therefore just isn't possible and, even the company that made the thing probably couldn't tell you without that information.
But as these low cost rebranded products gain more and more traction, identifying where they came from and what they are or who's responsible for them when the data is not there is often impossible and, as there's more and more of this sort of product out there then this is merely a natural result of that.
So whilst we can see why this is we sorta have to say that it's really a result, certainly in large part, to market forces and, market forces are consumer driven.
What Which? Wants
Fireproof labels basically. Or fire-retardant, we don't think you can get fully fireproofed ones.
That's great, the appliance burns, they can see what it was and then hopefully you can sue or pursue the maker or brand for compensation.
We can't see brands falling over themselves to help with that. Not even a little bit.
Aside from anything else a "we fit fireproof labels" says to the buyer, "our stuff can go on fire"... not the message makers or brands want to put out there.
And smaller brands just are not going to put money into it but then, mind, probably the large ones won't either.
If there's no legislation then, it ain't happening.
And that's absolutely fine if it happens, so long as there's also legislation that means makers or brands can sue for costs on false claims as well as, we've all seen false claims in the trade. Essentially attempts to extort money from the "big company" or their insurers.
Increasing Fire Instances
In its article Which basically alludes that the number of fires involving appliances is increasing and, numerically that may well be the case.
What it does not do is state how many are in the field, in operation when these figures are published as nobody really knows.
This is very important as it really only tells half the story.
If you think about it a little, from what Which? says based on "reported" instances caused by an appliance (NOTE: not proven to be a manufacturing fault) the number of instances has increased. But, relative to what?
If there are another one or two million products in service then it's logical to assume that the instances, even if statistically flat, would remain at the same percentage of overall products in use, they may have even dropped but, we do not have that information so to us, this is a bit speculative at best, downright flaky at worst.
We're not saying there's no need for vigilance at all, merely that these sort of hysterical claims need to be tempered with a bit of common sense.
And we see that with all possible kindness but on the understanding that these numbers do not take account of misuse, misinstallation and more factors which, as often as not, are the actual cause of supposed appliance fires.
In short, we don't think these numbers are truly representative of the actual danger being alluded to and we do not think that there is the proof or evidence here to say definitively that there is given those incomplete numbers.