Rustington man's fire fears as new Indesit washing machine starts smoking after 18 days: 'it is disgusting'

Paul Darnes from Rustington with the faulty washing machine. Picture: Derek Martin
Paul Darnes from Rustington with the faulty washing machine. Picture: Derek Martin

A Rustington man said he was ‘flabbergasted’ that a washing machine he bought began smoking after 18 days – and was not initially offered a refund.

Paul Darnes, from Sutton Avenue, Rustington, ordered an Indesit washing machine from Appliances Direct which arrived on August 12.

But on August 30, smoke began pouring out of the drum after his wife put on a light wash and they immediately unplugged the machine.

The retired engineer said: “If I hadn’t been here and my wife, bless her, had gone out shopping and left the washing on, I don’t know what would have happened.”

This came after parent company Whirlpool recalled 500,000 tumble dryers that were a fire risk earlier this year. Fearful that it could be a repeat situation, Paul contacted Appliances Direct for a refund.

But he said he was told that the supplier would send an engineer to fix the problem under warranty instead.

He said: “It was totally ludicrous. The last thing I want is an 18-day-old machine repaired.”

After filing a complaint to Appliances Direct, an Indesit engineer visited his home on Wednesday, September 4, and discovered the inner rubber seal was rubbing against the drum, causing the smoke.

He marked it as faulty with ‘a big red sticker’, at which point Appliances Direct finally agreed to a refund, Paul said.

The 75-year-old said: “I’m just flabbergasted... after all the equipment I have bought from them. It is disgusting.”

A spokesman for the Whirlpool Corporation said: “The safety of consumers is our number one priority and we investigate all incidents thoroughly as soon as they are reported to us.

“We would like to reassure other owners of this model that they can continue to use their appliances and we are treating this as an isolated incident.”

Appliances Direct did not respond to a request for comment.