Millions of recalled electrical products remain in UK homes

10 November 2014

Electrical product recall

More than 4 million household appliances have been recalled by manufacturers in the past four years   with faults that include a risk of fire or electric shock , and yet the majority may still be in UK homes.

The findings are reported in a study published today by Electrical Safety First, and the Charity is urging everyone to check their homes for recalled items. Since the start of 2011 228 different electrical products have been recalled– including seven types of fridge, four washing machines and seven hairdryers – yet typically only 10% to 20%[i] of recalled products are ever returned or repaired.

Underestimating the risks posed by recalled products is a major factor in the low recall success rate. Many people surveyed by Electrical Safety First said they associated recalls with ‘annoying faults’[ii] rather than safety, and 2.6 million UK adults say they have knowingly ignored a recall notice[iii]. The Charity wants to raise awareness of the risk of ignoring a recall notice after it found that 77%[iv] of people would be more likely to respond if they understood the potential dangers.

Electrical Safety First is also keen to stress that whilst there have been a number of high profile fires involving kitchen ‘white goods’ in the past year, smaller items can also pose a safety risk. Its research found that a fifth of UK adults would be more likely to respond to a recall of a large product than a small product[v], yet the Charity found the electrical items most reported as faulty or dangerous are smaller ones such as chargers, hairdryers, toasters and kettles. 

Martin Squires experienced a fire in his home near Leeds when his dishwasher had a fault. He is now supporting Electrical Safety First’s campaign.

He said: “It was lucky that I happened to walk into the kitchen as the dishwasher caught fire so I could put it out quickly. But my young son was asleep upstairs and I would otherwise have been in bed at that time too. It doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened. The product was later recalled as a whole batch. It is important for everyone to know that if they are told their item has been recalled it is going to be for a very good reason, and even if the fault is not immediately life-threatening it is not worth the risk keeping it in your home.”

Electrical Safety First is also working with manufacturers to help them engage the public more effectively in recalls and this week hosts a product safety conference with leading electrical manufacturers. Its study found that our fears about marketing are a major barrier to registering purchased products – 61%[vi] said they would be more likely to register if they were assured their information would not be used for marketing purposes. Whilst the Charity is urging manufacturers to act on these concerns it is also asking all consumers to register their products and ‘opt out’ of receiving further marketing information if this concerns them.

Today, Electrical Safety First is calling on consumers to:

  • 1. Check: Ensure the safety of all your electrical appliances today using the free Electrical Safety First online product checker. Just enter the model number, brand name or description of your product to see if your product has been recalled If it has, you will be then advised on next steps. Go to
  • 2. Register: Whenever you buy an electrical item, the first thing you should do is to register it with the manufacturer as this is the easiest way for them to contact you should there be a problem. Don’t be put off by marketing or the fear that your details will be shared with third parties as it’s easy to opt out of this.
  • 3. Recall: Keep an eye out for recall notices and act on them straight away. Manufacturers try and reach their customers in numerous ways, including posters in shops, adverts in newspapers, emails and letters, and on social media.

Emma Apter, Electrical Safety First said:

“Whilst the chances of a faulty product causing serious damage are small, the risk is still there and returning a faulty product, or ordering its repair, is very easy to do. We’re working with manufacturers to improve the recall system but in the meantime we urge everyone to do anything they can to look after themselves, whether that’s registering a product when you buy it or keeping an eye out for recall notices. We’d also encourage everyone to use our free online checker, to see if you have any recalled items in your home today.”

To check the safety of your electrical products, go to


For more information please contact Rachel, Libby or Rosie on or call 0207 403 2230.

Notes to Editors:

  • Electrical Safety First is the UK charity dedicated to reducing deaths and injuries caused by electrical accidents. We campaign to improve safety regulation and messages, and provide expert information and advice to the public and professionals to help ensure everyone in the UK can use electricity safely. Visit for more information
  • Asda recently recalled an electric toaster in August 2014. When the potential fault, which could cause an electric shock, was identified the retailer has already sold 300,000 potentially affected toasters[vii]
  • The top 10 types of items recalled between 2011 and 2014 according to Electrical Safety First’s research were:
    • 72 types of adaptors and chargers
    • 25 lighting products
    • 7 models of fridge freezers
    • 7 models of hair dryer
    • 5 models of kettle
    • 4 models of dishwasher
    • 4 models of hair styling tongs
    • 3 models of washing machine
    • 2 models of microwave
    • 2 models of tumble dryer


[i]Information taken from ESC report on Appliance Safety

[ii]29%of people admitting they would keep a recalled product if it still worked and the fault only caused a minor inconvenience. Populus 2013, base 2, 036 GB adults.

[iii]5% of UK adults, based on UK population of 50.2 million adults aged 18+ as per mid-2012 Census estimates. YouGov 2014, base 4,164 adults.

[iv]77% of UK adults would be more inclined to respond to a product recall notice if they knew that a number of deaths, fires and accidents had been linked to a recalled electrical item. YouGov 2014, base 4,164 adults.

[v] 20% of UK adults would be more likely to respond to a recall of a larger product, such as a refrigerator, than a small product, like a toaster. YouGov 2014, base 4,164 adults.

[vi] 61% of UK adults would be more likely to register an electrical product if they were assured that their information would not be used for marketing purposes. YouGov 2014, base 4,164 adults.

[vii]A recent ITV report found  Asda recalled it’s Asda Platic Toaster after selling  300,000 items.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 4,164 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th-7th September 2014.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).