Russell Hobbs last week recalled 15 models of its irons after reports they have burst into flames when in use, customers are not impressed at the company's response in the UK especially as the Company have the problem hidden from their customers.
The household electrical appliance company has urged customers to stop using the affected models, which are believed to have a faulty flex, and return them, for a refund or replacement.
ChannelNews contacted the CEO of Spectrum Brands Australia Paul Dryburgh on three occasions yesterday to ascertain whether their Australian customers should be worried, he failed to return our calls.
We also wanted to know whether the Russell Hobb Irons sold in Australia were the same as the ones sold in the UK.
This was a simple request but it appears that Paul Dryburgh who his PA claims is "constantly in meetings" is not interested in giving answers via the media.
This is the same person who wrote recently"Spectrum brands has a mission to create and maintain an enviroment that is safe".
Among the other brands sold by Spectrum Brands is Remington, National Hardware Baldwin and George Foreman products.
His Company was made well aware that all we wanted to know was whether any of the Russell Hobbs Irons recalled in the UK were being sold in Australia.
We also wanted to assure the thousands of consumers who had bought a Russell Hobbs iron that the products they had purchased were actually safe.
The receptionist at the Melbourne based Company said "We don't sell the same products as the UK".
When I asked to speak to a marketing manager, product manager or the Companies Managing Director to confirm this, in other words a person with authority, the receptionist said I will get someone to call you back.
No one did.
On the Companies Australian web site, PR Company Maxted Thomas is listed for all media contacts, when we contacted this organisation we were put through to the person who said that they were the account director on the Spectrum Brands account.
When we asked about the UK recall they said "What recall".
When we pointed out that UK Media Companies such as the Daily Mail, The BBC, ITN and the Daily Telegraph were running front page stories on the recall of Russell Hobbs irons they indicated that they were not aware of the issue and they had to contact their client.
When I pointed out that Spectrum Brands had been aware of the issue for 18 months and that the BBC had exposed the Company for dodgy practises a week ago in front of millions of consumers the reaction was "We cannot comment".
I was then handed over to another PR executive who was also clueless.
At 5.49pm on Monday night we got a two line email that read "Thanks for your call before re: Russell Hobbs. As I mentioned, the company has been looking into the issue and whether it would affect Australian consumers. I will have a statement for you tomorrow".
It was signed Matt Horsburgh.
Almost 24 hours later we are still waiting for a response, meanwhile thousands of Russell Hobbs irons are being used in Australia and consumers have not been advised whether they are safe.
UPDATE :One hour after this story was posted we got the following information from Spectrum Brands PR Company.
Russell Hobbs has looked into the issue and it will not affect any Australian or New Zealand consumers. The brand has the following statement to make:
Russell Hobbs irons sold in Australia or New Zealand are not the subject of any product recall. Although some Russell Hobbs irons in the United Kingdom have been recalled because of an issue traced to the power cord in those models, those UK irons use a different power cord to that used in Russell Hobbs irons sold in Australia and New Zealand.
Consumers can call the customer service line if they have any questions: 1800 623 118.