Do you have a dangerous Russell Hobbs iron?

8 December 2014

Russell Hobbs Ironing is never fun, but it’s rarely dangerous, yet now household thrill seekers can take their life in their hands (almost) by using a Russell Hobbs iron to make their clothes crease-free. Thousands of Russell Hobbs irons have now been recalled after reports that some burst into flames and injured customers.

Of course, you would hope that any responsible manufacturer would advise customers of a potential risk to their health as soon as possible. In Russell Hobbs case, however, it is suggested that they may have known about the problem- which affects 15 different models that were made using a specific flex cord- over  a year ago, and the product recall coincidentally happened just after the problem was featured on a BBC Watchdog exposé.

The Russell Hobbs website product recall page understates the issue saying  “as part of our ongoing quality monitoring program, we've identified an issue with a small number of our irons, that may carry a risk that the flex may fail. If you do have an affected iron, please stop using it immediately.” Bursting into flames and scorching people with electrical burns is a fairly major fail in our book. There's even a video of just what this mild-looking household applicance can do to your hand. Not pleasant.

Russell Hobbs managing director Tim Wright claimed that, when the fault was discovered the company began “working with Trading Standards to monitor the situation”  and now offers his apologies to those who have been injured by one of the faulty irons.

“This absolutely was not our intention and we work very hard as a brand to ensure that we bring products to market that are fit for purpose,” he said.

“We take our responsibilities as a manufacturer very seriously and customer safety is always our first priority, and it is because of these factors that we decided to issue the product recall.” Of course it is Tim.

If you think you might have an affected iron, which normally come is suitably girly colours like pink and purple, there are two pieces of information you need- the model number and the batch code.

russellhobbs

The affected model numbers are: 15081, 18651, 18720, 18741, 18742, 18743, 19220, 19221, 19222, 19400, 19840, 20260, 20280, 20550-10 and 20560-10.

The batch code needs to end with either 12 or 13. If the first three digits are from 045 through to 365 , the last two should be 12 or if the batch code starts with 001 through to 195 the last two digits should be 13. If you match all five numbers, you have won a faulty iron and you need to call Russell Hobbs customer service for your prize of “a refund or a replacement”.

Affected customers can complete a webform on the website, or are advised to call 0800 307 7616 or 0333 103 9663 from a mobile. Unfortunately, despite only “a small number” of irons being affected, there are so many people trying to call customer services that you can currently only listen to a recorded message advising you that  they are “experiencing a very high number of calls at the moment” and telling you to call back another time. Perhaps when you have actually burned yourself on the iron. If you do call from a mobile, however, the company will text you back and assure you they will call you back as soon as they can, although, this does not appear to be the same day- we called this morning and have not yet been called back.

So, many consumers are left with an iron they are told not to use in case it burns them, with no way of contacting the company for a replacement (however long that would take to arrive), and with no details of what proof you need in order to claim a refund (because everyone keeps receipts for over 18 months), meaning they can’t go out and buy another one. Good job Russell Hobbs.

49 comments

  • rose b.
    I have a Russell hobs iron I haven't used it because I saw the watch dog programme the model number is 18651 so can you please let me know what to do with it my phone number is [phone number removed] thanks mrs brooks ***Editor: Mrs Brooks - please use the links to the website or the phone numbers included in the article.
  • mrs b.
    I have a Russell hobs iron that is a model that needs to be replaced model no 18742 batch no 11813. I have tried to contact russell hobbs by telephone but was not able to speak to anyone due to high number of calls so i have sent an email but still had no reply. i would appreciate it if you could tell me how to get my iron replaced ? much appreciated
  • Mrs P.
    My iron is model number 15081, batch number 10513. I think this is one of the irons for recall. I do not want a replacement so what is the next step please? Thank you.
  • Georgina K.
    I have a Russell Hobbs iron model 15081, batch no. 01013. I saw the recall in Sunday's Irish Independent on December 7 2014 The cord is bulging in 2 places on my iron. I need to have the iron replaced asap please. I have it 's box and water jug, unfortunately no receipt. Where do I need to bring the iron to. I'm in Co. Carlow, Ireland. Georgina
  • Mof Gimmers EDITOR
    To all readers asking about what to do next, the answer is in the article you're commenting on.
  • Una O.
    My iron model no. is 20551-10 and the batch no. is 12514, is this iron faulty?
  • Pam R.
    I left my details- which was a simple thing to do- and I got an email from the firm asking me to fill in a simple form- which I did online- then I had a confirmation that a replacement iron will be with me in 5 days. I am pleased with the firm's reaction and how they are dealing with it. Well done Russell Hobbs.... you have tried your best to make amends.
  • Mrs I.
    As the cable seems to be connected at the iron the same way as was shown on Watchdog where it had burned I am very wary of using this product, although the numbers are not the same as yours. It is a model number17895-90 and batch number 32611 and I would like reassurance this is totally safe to use. It is not in constant use as it is my reserve iron. Thank you.
  • F D.
    My iron was the model number listed, but not the exact batch number, but the flex has always had a real kink from where it was originally packaged, and recently the blue/brown wires are showing through. I phoned the contact line, waited to talk to a real person, and explained the situation. They immediately offered to replace the iron, no questions asked. They are sending a pre-paid label to return the old iron to them. I think that's very good service from the company. I like the iron, just want to make sure it's safe. So well done Russell Hobbs.
  • Paul A.
    I have a Russell-Hobbs iron, model 15081,the batch .number is 0929 (I bought it about three years ago). Does this short batch number make sense? Any who knows please reply.
  • Christina B.
    I have a Russell Hobbs iron mobel 18651 it's still in the box because the cord will not straighten out and bear wires bulging. I returned it to Argos but they fob me off and said to call Russell hobbs. Can you email me on what I should do with the recalled iron. Christina Bullock.
  • Elisabeth S.
    My iron model number is 15081 and the batch number is 28012. The blue/brown wires are protruding in 2 places. I bought it 18 months ago from the Factory Shop. Please e-mail me on what I should do.
  • Mrs T.
    I have a Russell Hobbs Iron Model Number 19222. Please could you get back to me as to what I do next?
  • Mark K.
    I habe a russel Hobbs iron that is one of the recalled as or your web site. Please let me know what to do next?
  • Mof Gimmers EDITOR
    BW's editor here - as previously mentioned in the comments, the details of what you need to do are in the article.
  • Mr. D.
    Left a completed form at RH Website on Monday 8th. December - nothing heard from RH by the 11 Dec. so called them. Now awaiting a UPS label in order to return the iron to them. In view of the personal injury possibilities I am just amazed that RH can treat this issue with such a poor response. I do remember when we purchased a RH product that the box contained a form which is the most personally intrusive I have yet seen requesting, amongst a huge list of personal information, name/dob/interests of every household member which we all had a good laugh at. As this is yet another RH product which has failed: Kettle lasted less than 3 months before the button to open the lid failed (as warned by a neighbour shortly after we purchased it as he had the same model) And a 4 slice toaster - doesn't take standard loaf slices and reverted to a 2 slice toaster after less than 3 months as the other 2 failed. And there we have it - basically a marketing company with poorly designed products and rubbish customer service - they should read their own "Corporate and Social Responsibility" blurb on their website and attempt to implement it. We all make mistakes - it's putting it right in an orderly and timely fashion when you do that shows the kind of company your dealing with.
  • Russell H.
    Any old iron, any old iron, any any any old iron....
  • Question
    I switched my iron on then I touched the iron with the tip of my penis. Now my penis is sore. Any advice on what I should do next? P.S I've already switched the iron off before anyone offers that smart arse reply.
  • Mr. D.
    Update - 15 Dec. 17:37 Unable to get through on the telephone so left a completed form at RH Website on Monday 8th. December - the form promises a call back on the telephone. Nothing heard from RH by the 11 Dec. so called them - promised a form via E-Mail. Nothing heard by 15 December - left a message on their general email enquiry form as the form designed by them for the product recall appears to be a waste of time.
  • Reg
    I have a Russel Brand kettle and it can't be switched off. Although it does slide around and is generally very slippery, it just keeps going on and on, getting really steamed up over nothing. I tried it on my shirts but it just kept getting excessively hot under the collar for no obvious reason. I thought this Russel Brand was meant to be revolutionary, but so far it's just producing this irritating whine and annoying everyone in the vicinity. Any advice?
  • Mr. D.
    Jeez, looks like Spectrum Brands are really desperate - I'm surprised that they are getting so worried that their paid trolls are having to scour the depths of the 'net to add their downmarket attacks to any negative comments concerning Russel Hobbs, Spectrum Brands, or the Hedge Fund that owns the lot - ahh the convenience of Chapter 11 - unfortunately girls, posting comments re: "Reg"and "Question" so soon after my own tends to out you - ending the comments with a question in both posts, and the continual use of "Brand" - you know, the well known marketing term and the one they are so desperate on protecting - grow a pair - that's if you can find them........... Still no reply from that well known "Brand" Russell Hobbs, owned by Spectrum Brands - just mailed a complaint to trading standards. Lets keep adding all the "brand" names, should assist Google's Spiders - the more visitors the merrier - keep the page views up ........................
  • Bill
    Hi all, Has anyone received their replacement iron, or a refund? I completed Russell Hobbs's online forms on 11-12-14 and was then sent an e-mail from the company informing me that they would deliver my replacement iron, or a refund, within 5 working days - I had opted for the refund. Today is 19-12-14 and the refund has not yet arrived. Maybe Santa will be bringing it. ;)
  • F D.
    Although the original person on the helpdesk on 10 December said they would definitely replace my iron, as the flex is badly kinked, exposing wires, so is faulty (even though it is not the exact model number), and sent me a return label, the new iron has not come, and I am very unhappy. Rang again today and a very unhelpful (verging on rude) person said that she did not make the original agreement, and would not replace it! Now waiting for a manager to ring back. So I take back my original post praising Russell Hobbs.
  • F D.
    No return phone call from the manager, but new iron now arrived sent next day delivery! Thank you Mr Manager, much appreciated. Perhaps you can now listen to the phone call my husband had with the person on the help desk last night, if it was recorded, and have a word with her about the meaning of the phrase 'customer service'. Thank you for my iron, can now iron without being afraid the iron my catch fire. Happy Christmas.
  • Gill
    Hi , I also requested a refund and received a reply stating that it would be sent within 5 working days on Dec.10th. still waiting !!!!! no point phoning ,never can get through
  • margaret
    I have model 18651 ECO 896 may I have instructions on how to contact Russell Hobs please ,
  • margaret
    Help
  • Miss S.
    Dear Customer Services, i was told by your customer services on 4th December 2014 that i had an Affected Iron Steamglide Model Number 15081 Batch number 25513. They told me i had to wait 28 days before receiving an email on how and when i can receive a replacement !!! After telephoning an 0800 number four times with no response it has left me bitterly angry as been unable to Iron for five weeks now am disgusted!!! All i ask is one email whats happening. . Regards M Silverman
  • Jacinta M.
    Hi, I'm very happy. I called the helpline just before xmas, they emailed me a label to UPS the iron back to them. I took it to a UPS drop off point and have received a cheque that more than covers the replacement. THANK YOU RUSSELL HOBBS
  • Georgina
    Told on 10th December a refund for our faulty iron would be issued withing 5 working days but still waiting. We have since had to buy a new iron and have returned our faulty iron to Russell Hobbs so really starting to feel out of pocket on this debacle!!
  • Lisa P.
    Have contacted Russell Hobbs several times now by phone and also through their website as regards owning one of their faulty irons. On the phone we have been reassured that a returns label would be sent and instead of a replacement iron we have requested a refund which has been an advertised option. On each occasion since the beginning of December we have not received anything at all. Customer services through their website hasn't bothered to get back at all. It leads me to believe that this is not a genuine recall and that Russell Hobbs have no interest in making amends to their customers - what a joke!! Will be contacting Watchdog and would advise others to do the same.
  • Kathy
    I contacted Russell Hobbs 9th Dec, again week before Xmas, again on 7th January. Have had promises made each time of either replacement iron or refund within 7 - 10 days. Still waiting. On 7th I had duty manager call me and he promised he would arrange refund. I can lled again today and just the usual rubbish had to give all details for the fourth ( or 5th ) time if you count duty manager and then same apologies and promises. I doubt we'll ever see this refund. Congratulations to Russell Hobbs you have absolutely exceeded diabolical customer services.
  • Kathy
    I contacted Russell Hobbs 9th Dec, again week before Xmas, again on 7th January. Have had promises made each time of either replacement iron or refund within 7 - 10 days. Still waiting. On 7th I had duty manager call me and he promised he would arrange refund. I called again today and just the usual rubbish had to give all details for the fourth ( or 5th ) time if you count duty manager and then same apologies and promises. I doubt we'll ever see this refund. Today I emailed Watchdog and also spoke to Trading Standards Contacts in the hope that something can be done to make this company accountable. Congratulations to Russell Hobbs you have absolutely exceeded diabolical customer services.
  • Georgina
    Still waiting...
  • Bill
    Hi All, Further to my post of 19-12-14. I have since rung Russell Hobbs on five occasions to ask what was going on regarding the return and refund for the faulty iron. My last call to their dedicated number was on 21-01-15. The person I spoke to said, "The whole recall operation had been a fiasco". I could not agree more. Anyway, I once again gave them details. My expectation being that I'd back on the phone to them once more, in a week's time. But, Hey Presto! Today 29-01-15, a letter arrived from Spectrum Brands containing an apology and details of how to return the faulty iron, a Return label, and a form requesting personal details, etc. I feel now, that at least the process has started, which is a start. :) So, stick with it guys. Keep ringing them on that Freephone number.
  • Georgina
    Don't get your hopes up Bill. They've had our returned iron about a month now with no sign of a refund coming our way.
  • Trev
    Hey All of You, I will have a long story to tell you later about the fiasco and absolutely disgusting way Russell Hobbs so called Customer Care Team responds to these faulty irons. I am waiting a call back from them, hopefully, today to tell me if my refund is on its way. This is after making my very first telephone call to that stupid lot on that 0800 number, way back in December 2014. I am not saying too much at the moment, I want to see how today goes, I will write on here later. In the meantime anyone who has not received the returns label, that's a farce, anyone who has received it be prepared to wait for replacement or refund. It does not take 5 days as informed it takes weeks or even months!
  • Nige
    I too have an iron that upon checking the codes was apparently faulty and potentially dangerous. After submitting my details on the product recall website, I was promised a replacement iron "in 5 working days". That was two months ago and I haven't yet received anything. After several attempts to call the customer services helpline only to be put on hold forever and numerous emails chasing up when I would receive a new iron, I have now requested a refund. Today I received an email asking for all the same details again. They clearly had no intent or capability to send a replacement as they promised. Once I have received my refund, I certainly won't be buying a Russell Hobbs iron.
  • Joe H.
    Hi, I some respects its nice to know I'm not the only one in this situation! I first called them on the 5th December about my iron. In January I called and made a formal complaint, the advisers response was at least its got you out of doing the ironing! What did she think was happening to it, it still has to be done and it doesn't just disappear, of course I'm still using the iron. I still haven't had a response even after I made a complaint! What do I do now?
  • Trev
    Here is my story about the fiasco/debacle regarding Russell Hobbs recalled irons. I first watched the Watchdog programme back in 2014 regarding these faulty irons. I had one of the models and tried to contact the customer services on the 0800 number. A message said contact the website, the website said contact the 0800 number. After a few weeks I did get through to a team member on that 0800 number, this was a week before Christmas. The lady I spoke to said a returns label would be sent to me and a replacement would take 7 days. I waited until 5th January 2015 and telephoned the 0800 again. After a discussion with a lady there they informed me there was no record of my details. I then had to go through the whole thing again, I was told a returns label would be sent in about 7 days. On Saturday 10th January 2015 I received an envelope with my surname spelt wrong (despite spelling every word out to the 0800 lot and they repeated it back), also, they had put an entirely different house number on the envelope. I still do not know how I managed to receive the returns label despite these mistakes. Thank you Postman! I was worried that future correspondence, replacement iron/refund would be sent elsewhere, so, I telephone the 0800 number on 12th January 2015. As usual a very long wait. I then trawled around Russell Hobbs website finding as many telephone numbers as I could. 08456589700/ 08445075103. I dialled these and got exactly the same messages as on the 0800 number. Obviously these are not free of charges. I found yet another number 0035314295140 dialled this and yippee a voice. This lady was superb. I explained the situation to her and she said she would email head office, which I believe to be the Manchester returns address. I asked her where she was and she said in Ireland. How absolutely stupid was it to have to go to Ireland to try to contact someone here in Manchester! About 2 days later I received a returns label, surname one letter wrong but correct address. This was 22nd January 2015 my call to Ireland was on the 19th January 2015. I was encouraged. Huh! I arranged for UPS to collect as per instructions, I also received a telephone call from a lady in Customer Services apologising for all that had happened to me. I have all their names and they all gave me a reference number..........so long winded! More time wasted. . Anyway, she told me that the refund will be coming through shortly and apologised time and time again. I tracked the returned iron and it was signed for 23rd Jan 2015.......surprise surprise after 5 more days in fact longer due to the weekend no refund. February 5th came so I telephoned 01619810997 that’s another one of their long winded messages, it seems slightly quicker than the 0800 one though. This time I spoke to a guy and again explained what had happened. He said leave it with me and I will call you back.........did he call back did he Hell! He gave me yet another reference number. On the 10th February I telephoned the helpful lady in the Republic of Ireland, she was gobsmacked! She said I promise this will be sorted and promptly emailed Head of Customer Services. The next day I received a telephone call from a guy in Customer Services and he apologised, saying it has gone very wrong since the 0800 team were in place. He then gave me another reference number and told me there is a cheque on its way. What the Hell was the point in them taking my details to do a bank transfer? He said the cheque was raised early in February 2015. It’s now 16th February 2015 and no payment received from Russell Hobbs. I urge all of you to band together and I am going to write to the Managing Director complaining. Come on stand together on this. Write to Tim Wright, Managing Director, Russell Hobbs Ltd, Failsworth, Fir Street, Manchester. M35 OHS send it registered. What an appalling way this company has acted towards its customers. From all the comments made it seems Russell Hobbs will suffer long term losses. How easy it would have been to resolve all this. I have bought a new Philips iron its great! 17th February 2015 I waited on the Russell Hobbs line for 10 minutes I put the phone down as I was pretty fed up! I then telephoned Republic of Ireland, the lady I wanted was not available (reckon she was fed up too!) the lady who answered the phone asked me what was it all about. I explained it to her and she said she would email Russell Hobbs here in England. I asked her if she was able to contact somebody in authority and left it with her. Later that day I had a call from Jill at Spectrum (that is one of the company names on the letter regarding returning the iron). Again, this lady agreed it was unacceptable how long the refund was taking. Whilst talking to her she set up a bank transfer and it took all of 2 minutes to do. Blimey, everybody............I got the refund. Be consistent be a nuisance and get your refunds do what I did, cut the corners and the long drawn out way Russell Hobbs have behaved regarding this recall. Jill’s number at Spectrum is 01619473094 I don’t care if I should or should not reveal peoples telephone numbers, I don’t want others to go through all this (even though I do know many already have). I hope my story helps any of you out there to get your money back from this er....company, I use the word loosely! Good Luck!
  • Bill
    Hi All, Good news! I returned my recalled iron via UPS on January 31st and have just discovered that Spectrum paid the full refund into my bank account on February 18th. :) Hope all you guys who still have unresolved issues with this company are able to get a speedy and satisfactory outcome. Bill.
  • Bob
    About 18 months to 2 years ago when the sole plate of my RH iron literally began to melt, I sent an email with photos to the company and later got a phone call from them, the caller explaining that the head engineer would like to speak to me. He told me that because of a faulty thermostat, the sole plate had indeed begun to melt reaching a temperature of, if I remember correctly, 600 degrees plus. He also said that they, as a gesture of goodwill, would replace the iron by what he described as the top of the range iron this being the one that was used by his family. Well, the replacement arrived, and although it was a bit cumbersome, it did the job. That is, until this morning when history almost repeated itself. I was just about to iron a shirt with the setting on 2, when for some reason, (I think I could smell the heat), I decided to try it out on our fairly new ironing board. It burnt a hole straight through. I switched off before the sole plate had a chance to melt. Where do I go from here?
  • Bob
    Re my last post on April 9 at 10.51am I should have stated that the RH replacement iron was the POWERSTEAM PRO Model No: 19330. Have emailed them but have decided to change brands anyway.
  • Trev
    Bob, Go to Trading Standards as this is very serious.
  • Rose
    Hi, For the lucky ones who have received a refund from Russell Hobbs for the faulty irons, could you please let me know how much they gave you back? Everywhere I see it is "full refund", but they don't ask for the receipt at all. So how can they know how much we paid originally? I have written to them and surprise surprise, I haven't got an answer. I don't want to waste my time calling them either as I had to send them my details twice before I got the return label. Thanks a lot ofr your help!
  • Louise r.
    My Russel Hobbs iron went on fire in my hand last nite! Very dangerous!
  • G s.
    My russell hob iron burst into flames and as a result i have received quite a nasty burn to my wrist and my skin come off. I never knew this product has been recalled. I have email to register my formal complain but looking at some of the post here, i dont think i will receive any feedback sooner on my complaint.
  • marisa c.
    it has come to my attention that the iron I have has been recalled model number 15081 tried to call on numerous occasions but lines were busy due to the high volume of calls,how do I go about getting a refund or replacement
  • Rebecca G.
    Like others before me , i have had my Russel Hobbs for over 3 years and I really do take good care of my things ( kept clean ). Only use Correct water in it ( not tap water ). I was busy ironing as you do last evening when water was running out by the electrical cable . Luckily , I'd said previously to my husband that it gets extremely hot to hold before this happened . So he turned it off by the mains and said , " your NOT using that anymore , it's way too dangerous . ". Even tho it still looks as good as the day I bought it. I was looking on here too see which was the best steam iron for me as cannot be without one as all ( most ) women will agree. That's when I saw that there has been problems with these irons. I always tend to spend time researching before I buy anything as you cannot beat word of mouth , you can have all the advertising going , but , end of day what people say about a product or a Restaurant for example , word of mouth goes much further . It takes a long time to build a " Good Name in All Businesses , but Seconds to ruin it. Personally , I'd rather confront someone nicely and diplomatically tell them if there's something not right , however, everyone is different , some vote with their feet ( so to speak) , others can be rude. I have arthritis so I tend to look for a excellent iron with plenty of steam too make job easier, but same time not too heavy to handle. Look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks in advance and kind regards Rebecca Green

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