Safety alert over 138,000 faulty Beko home appliances that may pose a risk to thousands of familiesBeko already accused of making death trap machines linked to 12 deathsThree products are affected – fridge freezers, dryers and gas cookers
, fridge-freezers manufactured from 2000 to 2006 and gas cookers produced before 2009.
In the some cases, the defrost timer on frost-free freezers failed and overheated, causing a fire risk.
Some incidents appear to be linked to customers using their cookers to heat rooms rather than cook food.
As a result, the firm yesterday warned customers to take care using the cookers, adding: ‘These appliances are designed for cooking purposes only and must NOT be used as a space heater, or for any other purpose.’
It also warned customers to stop using appliances that fall in the three risk categories and unplug them.
Beko, which makes a fifth of all white goods sold in the UK, said it believed the risk of failure was low and offered a free at-home modification to remove the faulty part.
Father-of-two Santosh Benjamin-Muthiah died in November 2010 after a fire in his home
But product liability lawyer Jill Paterson has accused Beko of failing to issue early alerts and make sure customers are notified, and has said she was alarmed at the significant number of serious incidents involving Beko products.
In a statement on its website, the company said: ‘We take safety very seriously, and when we need to perform a corrective action, we try to inform all customers as quickly and efficiently as possible.
‘If you are concerned about your Beko product because of recent publicity, we would like to re-assure you that the products mentioned are part of existing product modification programs.’
A spokesman said last night: ‘Beko sincerely regrets any incident linked to any of our products. We would like to express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of affected customers.
‘Beko have supplied a full explanation of the extensive corrective action programs that have and continue to be implemented. The company strongly rejects any accusations that we have not acted as timely or comprehensively as possible to initiate the three corrective action programs.
‘Beko has always acted in accordance with regulatory guidance, co-operated with all relevant authorities and abided by all accepted standards of industry practice.
‘Beko has mobilised every resource at its disposal to rectify and raise awareness of the three product issues.’
This is not the first time the Turkish-owned company has made headlines for causing fires. In 2011 it was forced to admit that 500,000 of its fridge-freezers could be faulty.
A Beko fridge-freezer was found to be at the centre of a fire in a tower block in Bermondsey which forced 40 people out of their homes.
Beko is the subject of a 1.5million legal action by Jennifer Benjamin, a paediatrician, who lost her husband in a fire at their home in Wealdstone, North London.
The firm was warned by London Fire Brigade in a letter in June 2010 that its fridge-freezers were a ‘potential threat to life’ after a series of fires.
However, the company failed to issue a swift public alert and Mrs Benjamin’s husband, Santosh Benjamin-Muthiah, aged 36, died five months later.