Updated: Mon Apr. 16 2012 18:23:24
A class action lawsuit has been launched in the United States by several people whose dishwashers started on fire and the problem was also reported in Calgary.
The control panel of Janet Kelly-Cameron’s KitchenAid dishwasher inexplicably ignited in January 2011.
Kelly-Cameron had a hard time getting the manufacturer, Whirlpool, to take responsibility.
“The response I got was that it was an electrical fire and possibly mice had eaten through the wires,” said Kelly-Cameron.
Susan Stevens’ KitchenAid dishwasher caught fire in 2010 and she says it also started in the control panel.
“I smelled a burning smell and when I turned around I saw smoke pouring out of the dishwasher,” said Stevens.
CTV Calgary Consumer Specialist Lea Williams-Doherty looked into the problem over a year ago.
Lea asked Whirlpool whether a defect exists in these dishwashers and the company never addressed the question.
Now, several news stations in the United States have done similar stories about the dishwashers catching fire and a class action lawsuit has been filed against Whirlpool in California.
The lawsuit alleges these dishwashers contain defective control boards that spontaneously overheat and ignite and that Whirlpool has concealed this fact from the public.
Steve Chambers is one of the plaintiffs.
“Their position is just to deny it, just to blatantly deny that there’s a problem and that’s a really dangerous position,” said Chambers.
Lea contacted Whirlpool again and asked if there’s a defect that causes some dishwashers to catch fire.
Once again, Whirlpool didn’t address the question but this time, in an emailed statement, the company acknowledged fires have occurred but downplayed their severity saying no serious injury has been caused by an overheated control board.
Whirlpool says, its “dishwashers are designed and tested to contain a rare event, within the appliance.”
The government agency that investigates appliance complaints in Canada is the Electrical Safety Authority.
When Lea contacted the ESA about this last time, it confirmed it had several investigations underway.
If you are concerned about your dishwasher call Whirlpool at 1-800-807-6777.