/ Money

Have you been cold called about ‘home appliance insurance’?

Ever received unexpected calls telling you that cover for your washing machine, oven, dishwasher or other home appliance cover is due for renewal?

We’re looking to hear from anyone who’s been cold called and offered ‘home appliance insurance’.

Maybe you’ve given away your payment details over the phone, thinking the caller was from your existing insurance company, but later found out it was someone else?

Unfortunately this is a scam that seems to be plaguing lots of you at the moment, and is particularly targeting the elderly.

While there are legitimate insurers who will cover your household appliances if they breakdown, we’ve been investigating reports that some are fraudulently taking people’s money.

Our Scam Watch reporter Faye Lipson also looked into these calls a couple of years ago, but our inbox has recently received a huge surge in reports.

Misleading and aggressive sales tactics

We’ve been told about various ways these companies are pressuring and misleading people into handing over their bank details.

Most commonly, they’ll pretend you already have a policy with them and offer to renew it for a cheaper price. Some people who do have appliance warranties are often caught out by this.

They’ll then sign you up for pricey monthly direct debits for services that probably don’t even exist.

Others just go straight in for the hard sell, often calling dozens of times a day, offering increasingly ‘better’ deals.

Most people probably don’t even need appliance breakdown cover, as many common appliance issues are covered by home contents insurance.

Shockingly, some callers even claim you owe hundreds of pounds for a policy you apparently signed up for years ago, but never paid for.

And they’ve been known to call back several times a day, threatening legal action and visits from debt collectors if you refuse to pay up.

But the threats are hollow. These companies have absolutely no right to take money from you. The calls are best ignored and reported.

Tell us your story

We want more to be done to stop these scammers being able to freely contact vulnerable people.

What to do if you’re worried you’ve given your bank details to a scammer

We’re looking to gather as many stories together as possible from people who’ve been affected to support this.

Are you regularly pestered by cold callers from these companies? Have you been persuaded to hand over your payment details? Did you get your money back?

It would be really useful to hear about your experiences for our research – just tell us what happened to you in the comments section below.

If you’d rather contact us anonymously, you can can also get in touch at scamwatch@which.co.uk.

Comments
Chris Sobey says:
10 September 2020

Received a call at my elderly mother’s house from a company calling themselves Direct Repairs. Phone number 0208 161 2380. They said it was about our maintenance contract because they were changing the terms and conditions and it was ‘nothing to worry about’. I was worried because we’ve never heard of them and they keep phoning Mum. I rang off.

C Standing says:
10 September 2020

15.45 10/9/20 Have just received a cold call from a company calling themselves Appliance Plans UK (phone number came up as 0208 718 3187) indicating that our washing machine cover was coming up for renewal. Very convincing chap who held the line while I checked it out with my husband. Quoted a figure, indictated he had my full name on the Visa direct debit when I wouldn’t confirm my first name. Sounded so realistic – except we don’t have washing machine cover and we don’t put any DDs on Visa. He ended the call when I said I wanted to check out the company named and any cover we might hold.

John Morrison says:
14 September 2020

I get a phone call 2/3 times a week, saying my cover on my gas boiler is coming to an end and as I am a good customer they will be reducing my payments and it will be a one off payment that will cover me for life ,then they try to get my bank details ,I do record the calls to warn other members of the family,when they phone they have my name and address

Les Morss says:
15 September 2020

I had a phone call today from the number 02089499196. The message was that the extended insurance on my washing machine has expired and did I want to renew it? At first I thought it was genuine but when they told me how much they were proposing to charge I said no and was pretty sure it was a scam. The caller promptly ended the call

John Evans says:
16 September 2020

At least once a week I am contacted by telephone operatives claiming that they are working for Household Appliance Services and advising that the insurance on my household appliances is due for renewal. I have just been told that my last payment was made in September 2019 at a value of £250.

I have never had insurance for any of my household appliance and I strongly object to these repeated unsolicited telephone calls and the fraudulent claims that are repeatedly made in an attempt to get me to sign up for this product.

Each time I am called the call is from a different number, the latest being 0208 679 5718. This dubious practice is further evidence to me that I am either being approached illegally by a company that has no respect for consumer law or this is a scam. I am signed up to the Telephone Preference Service so I should not receive any unsolicited calls.

I have just looked up this company online and it appears to be based in Edinburgh. I have now contacted them and instructed them to stop calling me. Having come across this article it may be that scammers are using the details of a genuine company to give greater credibility. I await their response anyway.

Celia Braithwaite says:
17 September 2020

I was contacted yesterday by National Appliance Cover regarding my washing machine , saying I had agreed to delayed payment cover in 2018 , and I was now due to start paying . I knew I didn’ t have this cover and asked them to send out paperwork . Given 3 options , pay now , pay to cancel policy or Court . I said I would look for my documents and ring back .They called me back said I would have to pay to receive documents . When I said can I just stop you there he said I had no manners and became aggressive saying it was default payers like me that had caused 12 of his colleagues to lose their jobs .Now been threatened with Court action

T Lewin says:
17 September 2020

Been contacted by National Appliance Cover Ltd staing that my wife had entered into a defered payment appliance insurance policy in May 2018.
When I stated that we had no policy documents to cover this and would not be renewing “Dan Walker” stated that we would have to pay what was not a cancellation amount but he could take this payment now. He was politely told that we do not give out card information over the phone but would be happy to pay by bacs. At this point he informed me that this was not a method of payment his company did and we would be contacted by the legal dept.
I look forward to theier call.

Sue Harris says:
18 September 2020

I’ve just had a phone call from 0208 9567618, purporting to come from an appliance insurance agency, saying I could renew the insurance on my washing machine. We don’t take out insurance on domestic appliances. They referred to my previous address, which we left 6 years ago, and asked for our new address. I queried the date of purchase of the washing machine which I bought soon after we moved, and was told 2019, so that was clearly wrong. I was then offered insurance renewal for a reduced price, £66.00 instead of £99.00, but said I wasn’t interested and they rang off. I didn’t like the initial attitude of the female caller and thought her unprofessional. I also felt she tried to confuse me, which also put me off dealing with her and made me suspicious after I rang off.

David Muir Wood says:
21 September 2020

Similar to other correspondents – an aggressive call from someone claiming that I took out a ‘buy now -pay later’ insurance for unspecified white goods (of which they know no details) and that the ‘now’ has arrived and I am required to pay either the renewal costs for two future years of cover, or the cost of the two or three years of cover that we neither had nor wanted. National Appliance Cover Limited is apparently based in KIngton, Hereford. The aggressive caller sounds more like Essex boy. The alert bank (Hlaiifax) declined any payment to this organisation immediately without requiring any encouragement.

M. Hoskins says:
21 September 2020

Just had call from what appeared to be a mobile number.
The caller knew my name and address.
He said,’ As I’m sure you are aware, your washing machine cover has expired….nothing to worry about..’
As I had just renewed the cover in question I expressed surprise….and the line went dead!

Concerned daughter says:
Today 11:07

I discovered 50+ ‘contracts’ and ‘policies’ at my elderly parents’ house, from 30+ companies, totalling over £15000 that has been taken out of their account in the last few months – mostly since lockdown. All relating to appliance cover – many for items my parents don’t have or for which the price of the ‘cover’ would pay for a new appliance several times over. We have worked with my parents’ bank to recover much of the money, although do run the risk that they challenge the bank as a legitimate organisation/service and can reclaim the recovered money through the DD guarantee. By chance, I took a call from a similar caller whilst I was there going through paperwork – very rude and aggressive, and unable to give any information on the ‘company’ (“I just work on the phones”). It makes my blood boil that these people are getting away with de-frauding vulnerable people out of their hard-earned money. Is any action being taken on these companies?