By Patrick Avenell
Beko Australia has blamed recent negative media coverage linking its products to the deaths of 11 consumers in the United Kingdom on a law firm creating a smear campaign to enhance any future litigation payout.
Since launching locally in late 2011, Beko has become a de facto house brand for its exclusive retail partner, Narta. The products are most commonly sold in Bing Lee and Betta Home Living stores.
Beko's declaration against the unnamed law firm was made in an email sent to Narta members on 27 March 2013, after several media outlets picked up Current.com.au’s exclusive revelation that its products were being withdrawn from sale in a story published on 27 February 2013.
“The ongoing press is leaking deliberately from a law firm in UK who is handling litigation on behalf of the family who unfortunately lost a loved one,” wrote Beko Australia general manager of sales and marketing Paul Reeves. “The law firm are well known for their actions and methods of gaining maximum exposure about an issue in an effort to receive litigation pay out.
“Whilst the loss of life is tragic under any circumstances, we have definitely taken huge steps to put maximum effort into recalls and changing production processes.
“We will unfortunately, continue to see articles leaked by the UK lawyers in an effort to soften us up for the compensation which incidentally, although mentioned in … [articles], is totally incorrect.
“We have had NO demand on us for a compensation payment although we are sure it will come.” [Reeves’ caps]
The Daily Mail, a United Kingdom tabloid noted for its overly sensational stories, has been at the forefront of the attacks on Beko. Recent headlines include Electrical firm Beko accused of 'dragging its feet' over faulty goods as company is linked to ELEVEN deaths (its caps), Two men killed by deadly gases take number of victims to be poisoned by faulty cookers to eight, Warning to half a million families as deadly fridge freezer causes tower block inferno and Faulty dryer blaze left us homeless: Mother had no idea about Beko safety alert.
Current.com.au first began highlighting Beko’s UK recall record after we exclusively revealed the vendor had instructed Narta members to withdraw three cookers from sale. These products were not officially recalled. On 27 March 2013, however, Beko did recall a condensor dryer.
Recalls are a part of life? The industry should be doing more? Tell us what you think