“In certain circumstances, gas can escape (from the connecting pipe) and in an uncontrolled manner and in extremely rare cases a risk of explosion can arise‚” the so-called “safety notice” warned in early April. The notice was placed in two Afrikaans newspapers three weeks later.
But of the 1‚000 affected stoves sold in South Africa‚ the owners of just 120 of them have responded‚ and subsequently had the gas nipple and the blank-off cap of their stove’s connector replaced‚ at no cost. That leaves 880 potentially explosive Bosch stoves in operation almost two months later.
“Our call centre is actively contacting customers with the affected models on our database‚” said BSH Home Appliances communications manager Elizabete Nelson. “We started off by notifying all our distributors and asking them to assist with customer data. We have a dedicated workforce working on this initiative.”
The explosive problem was first identified last year‚ the affected stoves having been sold into many countries around the world‚ including 11 sub-Saharan African countries.
In October‚ the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission issued a recall notice for 600 affected appliances in that country.
Asked why BSH wasn’t calling the initiative a recall in this country and what role the National Consumer Commission (NCC) was playing‚ Nelson said BSH had labelled it “a repair action campaign” and that the NCC had been informed and was being constantly updated.
“Perhaps calling it a recall was an Australian government requirement‚” she said. “We are trying to obtain more information.”
There had been no reports of the affected stove exploding or malfunctioning in SA‚ Nelson said.
For more information about the recall‚ call BSH on 0800 999 332.
Wendy Knowler – Tiso Black Star Group