Whirlpool has admitted in a letter to Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – BEIS – Committee chair Rachel Reeves that one of its loss adjusters has used a confidentiality agreement with customers regarding its fire-risk tumble dryers in 24 cases.
The question of Whirlpool’s use of non-disclosure agreements – NDAs – regarding the ongoing issues with its fire-risk tumble dryers was brought up during a meeting with the BEIS Committee where Whirlpool customer Jemma Spurr – whose modified dryer caught fire in September last year – told the committee she was made to sign a NDA to receive settlement from Whirlpool.
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At the time, Whirlpool Corporation corporate vice president for communications and public affairs Jeff Noel told the committee: “Under no situation has Whirlpool ever used legal or other enforcement mechanisms to try and prevent both discussions about defects, investigations into incidents [and] working with public authorities.”
In Noel’s letter to Reeves, he said: “Unfortunately, it is not possible to identify the number of confidentiality agreements that have been used by Whirlpool, or by third parties on its behalf, around the world since 2004.
“However, we can confirm that we have investigated the origins of the form of settlement agreement signed by Ms Spurr. It is a form that has only been used by one of our loss adjusters, and we believe that in total, it was used by them on 23 other occasions.”
Noel added: “We wish to be very clear that payment provided in such instances constitutes compensation for damage or injury as claimed by the consumer. Whirlpool has never used legal or other enforcement mechanisms to prevent public discussions of alleged defects in our products or sought to rely upon such confidentiality provisions.”