Thermomix burns spurs CHOICE Thermoburn campaign

CHOICE initiates 'mass incident' report to the ACCC.


Turning up the heat on Thermomix

CHOICE is calling on Thermomix owners who have suffered injury at the hands of their machines to contribute to a mass incident report to the ACCC.

Following numerous reports from consumers to CHOICE of Thermomix burns, we've launched a 'Thermoburn' campaign to spur a speedier resolution to this ongoing issue. Been burnt? Let us know.

As any Thermomix devotee would be aware, a critical part of the TM31 model ended up on Australia’s national product recall site in 2014.

Thermomix in Australia was fined $4.6 million in April 2018 for misleading customers about the burn risks of their TM31 model. CHOICE found the TM5 Thermomix to be an excellent all-in-one kitchen machine but we suspended our recommendation due to substandard customer care.

The part in question, the sealing ring, costs $15. The machine itself (now distributed as the TM5, after the TM31 was superseded in late 2014) runs in the $2000 price range. The faulty ring has apparently been the cause of injury to more than a few Thermomix owners.

And many Thermomix owners might not know that the sealing ring is meant to be replaced every two years (see below). 

Read our earlier story for some background on the sealing ring saga.

If you own a TM31, take our poll to let us know whether you knew about the two-year sealing ring replacement rule – or not.

If you've been burned by your Thermomix, please give us the details so we can add your case to our mass incident report to the ACCC. 

By now, owners of affected TM31 machines (service numbers 124231xx – 142031xx) should have received their new sealing rings. The old ones pose a risk of scalding when the machine is operated at speed setting four or above and then switched to the 'lid-open' positon, as hot liquids can spew out.

Judging by anecdotal evidence made available to CHOICE, it's not an entirely uncommon experience – and some of the burns we've seen look pretty bad.

The social media shots sent through to us have been posted by people who claim to have suffered injury at the hands of their Thermomix machines. 

Right to a refund? 

Thermomix can apparently play hardball when it comes to customers seeking a refund. One such customer, whose Thermomix TM31 has reportedly suffered multiple failures, recently contacted us and claimed the company tried to pressure her into signing a confidentiality agreement in exchange for any refund.

CHOICE has seen examples of Thermomix non-disclosure agreements, which forbid Thermomix owners who relinquish their machines for a refund from criticising the product or company in public, including on social media.

The matter for the customer mentioned above ended up with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal months after the woman initially brought the issues to the company's attention, and the Tribunal ended up awarding the woman a full refund without any confidentiality agreement. 

Meanwhile, Thermomix makers Vorwerk Elektowerke have assured CHOICE, through their local legal team, that replacement sealing rings had been sent to all affected TM31 owners as of November 2014.

Regular replacement

What it didn't mention is that those replacement sealing rings on the Thermomix TM31 will need to be replaced again later this year – at least according to the company's PR team in Australia. 

"As a precaution, the seal on TM31 appliances should be replaced every two years," the PR firm Cannings Purple told CHOICE on 4 March.

We hadn't heard this before, and neither had a few dedicated Thermomix owners we talked to.

We're following up on this issue because we think consumers have a right to expect better communication and follow-up from the maker of such a high-end product.

Leave a comment

Display comments