We're piecing this together a little here as we caught a report from The Mirror that speculates that residents of the Grenfell Tower that tragically went on fire may have a claim against Hotpoint if the fridge freezer is proven to be the cause.
The Mirror says that Dean Dunham as mooted this notion by saying that, "If it transpires that the Grenfell fire was caused by a faulty Hotpoint appliance all the residents in the block could potentially have a legal claim against the owners of Hotpoint." but we're not so sure that this will have any legs at all.
Mr Dunham sets out his take on it in the Sunday papers thus:
"First, the Government needs to get tougher in relation to dangerous goods and how they are recalled. We also need one central database for product recalls.
"However, there’s something that consumers can do and that is insist on enforcing their rights with retailers when goods are faulty and sue when goods are dangerous and cause injury.
The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) states that when goods are found to be faulty/dangerous the manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and retailers are all held responsible for any injuries caused by them.
"This means that an action under the CPA can be brought for death, personal injury and damage caused to private property as the result of a product defect against any of these parties.
To succeed with an action under the CPA those injured by the faulty product only have to prove that the product was defective, and that any injury or damage was most likely caused by the product.
Another important factor is that a claim may be brought under the CPA by any person who is injured by a “defective product” regardless of whether that person purchased the product."
Which is all well and good but there's a lot more in play here than just the Hotpoint fridge freezer, in particular what allowed the fire to spread which directly led to the loss of lives. Essentially, that should not have happened.
However it should be noted that the fridge freezer in question was, at the very latest, produced in 2008, nine years before and that's the best case, it may well be older than this.
We don't know what happened to it.
We don't know if it had been repaired, modified or anything else about its history.
We don't know the conditions it was installed in.
Basically nobody knows enough at this stage to point the finger of accusation anywhere at all and, we don't think, there's substantial evidence to even ponder a claim against Hotpoint or anyone else until the official investigation has been completed and we all have some facts to work with.
We think that these comments are extremely premature given there's not any hard evidence to work with presently.