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Which? issues “don’t buy” fridge warning

UK: Consumer group Which? has named 250 refrigeration appliances with plastic backs that, it claims, may dramatically accelerate the spread of flames in the event of a fire.

The influential body’s “Don’t Buy” warning is the largest it has ever issued, accounting for 45% of the fridge, freezer and fridge freezers it reviews.

Describing the proportion of potentially unsafe appliances in shops as “worryingly high”, Which? blames the continued legal sale of these appliances on “flawed” current safety standards that won’t be replaced until 2019.

Which? says it is calling on manufacturers to make product safety a priority and immediately stop making fridges, freezers and fridge freezers with plastic backing.

“Retailers should immediately stop selling these products to keep them out of people’s homes and ensure consumers aren’t unknowingly spending hundreds of pounds on potentially unsafe appliances,” it says.

Which? found only 14 brands that use a flame-retardant metal or aluminium back on every one of their fridges, freezers and fridge freezers it had reviewed.

The company also warned consumers not to be confused by manufacturers’ claims of a flame-retardant plastic backing. In the case of four manufacturers that claimed ‘flame-retardant’ plastic backs, Which? said that in its own tests not a single one was able to withstand an open-flame for thirty seconds.

The full report and list can be found here.

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