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Beko fridge fires & defective consumer products

In the recent news we have all been shocked to hear that a leading manufacturer of household electrical appliances, Beko, has been aware for at least four years of a very dangerous fault in one of their products and did nothing satisfactory to remedy the fault or notify their customers of it.

They have now publicised the fault with the defrost timer in models of their frost free fridge freezer manufactured between January 2000 and October 2006. It has been reported by the BBC that the Fire Brigade are aware of at least 15 people who have been injured and 1 fatality in the London area as a result of fires, but with more than 500,000 of these fridge freezers thought to be in homes throughout the UK, this number could increase significantly.

Electrical appliances used in the home are one of the most common causes of residential fires which all too often result in injuries and unfortunately sometimes even death. Familiar injuries as a result of fires include damage to the lungs, throat and burns. However, patients with fire-related injuries also risk nonphysical injuries e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder. These emotional consequences can have a lasting impact, especially on children.

This is of course, only one element of the potential injury that can be sustained as a result of using faulty equipment.

The Law

Claims with regard to consumer goods fall within the sphere of law known as product liability. As a consumer you are protected by the law against faulty or defective equipment. The Consumer Protection Act 1987 imposes a strict liability for any damage which arises from a defective product (a product which is not for the purpose for which it was intended). Essentially, you therefore only have to be able to show that the fault or defect caused your injury and do not need to demonstrate anything beyond that.

Generally, it is the manufacturers (or producers) of a product or any party that puts their name and holds themselves out to be the producer of a product who would be held liable for any injury caused by a faulty or defective product. If the manufacturers are based outside the UK, it may instead be the importers who are liable.

Most product liability claims arise as a result of a problem in one of the following:

  1. Design – when the design of the product itself represents a hazard or danger.
  2. Manufacture – when a fault or defect occurs during the manufacturing process.
  3. Warning – by failing to provide an appropriate warning to a dangerous product or part of a product.
  4. Failing to Recall – when the fault is known but the product is not recalled, such as with the current Beko situation.

Unfortunately, you will rarely know that there is a defect with your product until the time that you actually sustain injury and there is little that you can do to prevent it aside from using the product in the correct manner, for the purpose it was intended and in line with any instructions.

Can you claim?

If you have been injured as a result of a fire caused by a Beko fridge freezer or as a result of any faulty or defective product then you may be entitled to claim for compensation.

We are specialist personal injury solicitors and will act on your behalf to help put you back in the position that you would have been in had you not been injured.

Please contact us on 0800 213214 or complete our simple online enquiry form to discuss claiming compensation.