Nearly three quarters of consumers risk missing dangerous product recalls

30 January 2017

Only 23 %[i] of people always register electrical appliances

Research undertaken by Electrical Safety First shows that many British consumers could be taking dangerous risks in their homes by not registering their electrical products. Despite a number of high profile safety notices and product recalls* issued during the last year, nearly three quarters of British consumers say that they don’t always register their electrical appliances[ii].  Furthermore, the research shows that three in ten consumers never register electrical products[iii].

In 2016 alone, there were 61 recall notices issued for electrical products in the UK[iv], which means there were millions of potentially dangerous products in UK homes. Registering an electrical product allows manufacturers to contact consumers directly in case of a safety concern, such as a product recall. Without registering, millions of British consumers could be unwittingly putting their lives at risk if they continue to use a dangerous recalled product.

The reasons why three quarters of people are not always registering vary from “It’s too much hassle,” to “I meant to but I forgot” and “I don’t think it would have any benefits”[v].  Many consumers seem to be put off by the thought of registration, with more than one in three preferring to do household chores such as ironing or taking out the bins rather than register their large appliance online[vi]. This complacency can lead to people waiting for the media to cover incidents caused by recalled products, rather than registering products so that the manufacturers can get in touch directly.

Only one third of consumers said they feel it is risky not to register a tumble dryer[vii], but in the last year alone over five million potentially dangerous tumble dryers have been recalled in the UK alone[viii]. 

Given the numbers of people not registering their appliances, it’s no surprise that the success rate of recalls is low. Previous research undertaken by Electrical Safety First show that the success rate is rarely more than 10% to 20%, despite the huge risks of electrical shock, fire or even death that faulty electrical items can present[ix].

Low registration levels may not be the only reason for a low response rate for recalls. One third of consumers said that they would continue to use a washing machine, even after it had been recalled[x]. Of those who would continue using a recalled machine, one third said that they would use it if it continued to work properly and one third said that it would be too much hassle to go without[xi]. One in seven would continue to use it if they hadn’t heard of a serious incident of fire or shock[xii]. 

Martin Squires had just put his son to bed one evening in July 2014 when he discovered a fire in his kitchen. Flames came out of his dishwasher control panel, which was surrounded by thick smoke. Thankfully, he knew to isolate the electrics, turn off the water and put out the flames.

As an electrician, Martin knew what happened should not have happened. In the days following, his own research into his dishwasher turned up a few more similar cases happening to other people. It took a few months before the manufacturer issued a recall.

Since 2014, he watches product recalls very closely.

‘I understand that unforeseen problems can occur in life and I prefer to purchase from a retailer that acts quickly if things do go wrong, it gives me confidence that I would be contacted. This is why I now register with the manufacturers, trusting they would alert me.’

Since then, he’s had two other electrical items under a product recall, but says if he didn’t keep track of them, he may not have known about products in his home were a risk.

‘One of the further recalled products I had purchased was through Amazon, because they had my contact details they emailed me promptly and sent me details of how to replace my affected item. This was promptly posted out to me with no fuss. I appreciated this because the faulty product was my 9 year old son’s, I dread to think what could have happened if they didn’t have my details.’

Emma Drackford, Head of Communications at Electrical Safety First said:

 ‘An unregistered appliance can be a hidden danger in your home as it’s difficult for manufacturers to trace them if there are any safety issues. Over the last year we have seen recalls which have affected millions of people, from lithium battery powered phones to large white goods.

‘We’re urging people to take control of their safety and make it a habit to register a new product as soon as they get it home. It only takes minutes to do, and will give you and the rest of your family peace of mind that you will be notified if a dangerous product is in your home.’

The easiest way to register your product is to go online to the “Register My Appliance” website, which has links to all of the major electronics manufacturers. It should take just a couple of minutes.

To check if an electrical item has been recalled visit:


For more information please contact:

Muireann Kirby T: 020 3463 5105 E:

Christina Copp T: 020 3463 5129 E:

*The term “recall” is used throughout for the different ways manufacturers describe safety notices and corrective actions. Electrical Safety First research shows that “recall” is a term that consumers understand.

Editors’ Notes

  • Case studies available on request.
  • Electrical Safety First is a UK Charity dedicated to reducing and preventing damage, injuries and death caused by electricity. More information can be found at  or by searching #recall
  • Ipsos MORI research was conducted between the following dates: 2 December 2016 and 15 January 2017. Research was carried on behalf of Electrical Safety First through interviews with a sample of 2,038 adults in Great Britain aged 15+. All interviews were carried out face-to-face in participants’ homes. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in Great Britain aged 15+.
  • All other consumer research, unless otherwise stated, was undertaken from 14 to 16 December 2016 by Censuswide with a sample of 2,001 general consumers.  The figures are representative of all UK adults.

Why should I register my product?

  • Registering your product makes it possible for the manufacturer to easily get in touch with you if it turns out that the item you’ve bought is somehow faulty or dangerous.
  • Typically only 10-20% of these recalled products are actually returned and/or repaired. This is largely down to the fact that the manufacturer often has no way of directly contacting those who purchased the item in question. Consequently, each year, millions of potentially unsafe appliances remain in use, putting their owners at risk of electrical shocks, fires or even death.
  • You should find details of how to register your product included alongside the instructions for how to operate and maintain it. Even if you’ve had the item for a while and have long since lost the associated paperwork, it is still possible for you to register it.

How do I register my product?

In order to register your product, you’ll usually need:

  1. The brand name
  2. The model (usually either a name or a number)
  3. The serial number
  4. The date of purchase (or as near to it as you can remember)

Go to for more information and to register your electrical products.

[i] Ipsos MORI, 2017, 23% of GB adults always register their electrical appliances.

[ii] Ipsos MORI, 2017, 72% of GB adults register electrical appliances: often; half the time; sometimes; rarely; or never.

[iii] Ipsos MORI, 2017, 29% of GB adults never register electrical appliances

[iv] Electrical Safety First Product Recall Checker:

[v] Ipsos MORI, 2017

[vi] Censuswide, December 2016

[vii] Censuswide, December 2016

[viii] BBC online, December 2016, ‘Dangerous wait with fire-risks dryers.’ Retrieved from:

[ix] Electrical Safety First, 2014, Product Recall Report, Retrieved from:

[x] Censuswide, December 2016

[xi] Censuswide, December 2016

[xii] Censuswide, December 2016