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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?

Update 26/04/2021

Which? News: Combating the ‘appliance cover’ con

Home appliance insurance call warning

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
Elizabeth Perera says:
17 June 2021

I was called by Home Appliances re my insurance with them. I said I’d like to cancel it, and they said there would be a cancellation charge! I was in a hurry and put the phone down. I don’t have any such insurance and luckily realised it was a scam.

Adele Rowland says:
17 June 2021

I have just had ‘ National Home Cover’ ring me about three appliances I have with another company. How did they know?? They are not due for renewal until October and I had the file at hand so as aggressive as the scammer was I told her to ring off. Interestingly they were offering two years for three but still way over the price I am paying with a very helpful company.

Adele, have you ever had calls from a survey company asking about your appliances?

Adele, in most cases all they know about you is your name, address and contact number. Its very much a numbers game for them, calling thousands of consumers each day with the aim of reaching someone who has a warranty/service plan and just assumes its their current provider. They will often guess the make of appliances you own and sometimes they get lucky, which gives consumers confidence its their current provider. But they also conduct so called ‘market research’ weeks before calling, asking about what brands of appliances you own. Once they have this information, they will call back claiming to be the current warranty provider and have knowledge of the appliance brands, which is all part of the scam.

Jackie O’Dowd says:
17 June 2021

I was called this afternoon telling me I was being offered a better deal for my home kitchen appliances cover and they needed to update my information. She had my name and address. I was asked what appliances I had and I naively told her. She was very well spoken and friendly. It was only when they got to the bank details part that I became suspicious. I told them my bank details had not changed so to use the same information from my current direct debit payments. She became insistent that she needed this information but I refused and put phone down.

Jackie, did they state their company name and do you have a record of the number that called?

AB says:
17 June 2021

They called me this morning, I have their number. The first time that I received the same call was about 2 years ago just 1 or 2 days after that I filled a form online.

AB, are you happy to share the number that called and did they state their company name? It’s important the Authorities obtain as much information as possible about these rogue outfits and by collating information from consumers they can investigate and take action. If you believe it was a scam call or your number is registered with the telephone preference service and you had not given consent to be called, you can report this to the ICO online, https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/nuisance-calls-and-messages/spam-texts-and-nuisance-calls/

Thanks for the link, very useful. I’m not sure about the name they gave me. I’ll send the number and more information to the email in the article.

Excellent, reports to the ICO and other Regulating bodies will help the Authorities to monitor, investigate and take action against rogue organisations.

Pav Akhtar says:
18 June 2021

I work for a company that does appliance cover.
As we are F.C.A Regulated we NEVER cold call.
We suggest you actively search for appliance cover,
or ask a friend or family member to assist or recommend a company.
Stay vigilant please

Philip S says:
18 June 2021

I was cold-called from a representative of AST (After-Care Support Team) on 01931-603027. The pushy caller claimed that my washing machine warranty expired today – an impossibility as the warranty expired fifteen years ago so I knew it was a scam. He was unable to provide me with any details regarding my machine, his ‘company’ or its location – but in exchange for £60 he would provide me with the telephone number of an engineer should my machine fail.

Ian Jones says:
18 June 2021

Just had a call from ‘The Home Care Department’ of ‘National Home Cover’. Yep, they tell me that the warranty on my kitchen appliances is running out and they can offer me 30% off their normal rates. The number shows up as 02033 322998 but when called is ‘currently not in service’.
When asked to talk to their database manager I was told that they were busy and when pushed for their name told me they were called Carola Jones. That just happens to be the name of my late wife who died more than 6 years ago.
Obviously a scam and abviously run by scum.

Ian Jones, really sorry to hear this abhorrent individual used the name of your late wife. I am disgusted they would use such a stunt which just demonstrates their complete disregard for others. When these rogues don’t get what they want or consumers challenge them, they often respond with unpleasant wisecracks, abuse or aggression. I would recommend reporting the number to the ICO online, as it’s relatively quick and straightforward to do:

https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/nuisance-calls-and-messages/spam-texts-and-nuisance-calls/

It’s important the Authorities obtain as much information as possible about these rogue outfits and by collating information from consumers they can investigate and take action.