/ 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.

Tilly Kearney says:
12 March 2020

I have been contacted several times, telling me that my insurance is overdue for both my washing machine or dishwasher. Sometimes I have been told that the insurance is due and it is time for renewal.Each time I tell them that I don’t want to renew it. When they ask for reasons. I tell them that the insurance can’t possibly be due, as I don’t have them covered by insurance , both items are 20 years old, & if I had been paying them for the same amount of years then I could have bought a new kitchen. I have said to them that it is a scam & immediately they end the call.
This happens on a fairly frequent basis. Once again if you ask them to take your name off the list , they disconnect the call.
There are so many of these scams. If it isn’t the bank informing me that £600 is about to be taken from my account, to Amazon informing me that they are about to take £79 from my account for Prime.
What amazes me more than anything. The bank is always about to take £600, & Amazon have never charged £79 for Prime. They haven’t the wit to check that out..

It will be 3 years ago this month I bought and registered my washing machine. The warranty was increased to 5 years on registration.

The last 2 anniversaries I have had phone calls that went something like:
Your washing machine insurance is due for renewal, I can do that over the phone now for you.

I usually just say no it’s not and put the phone down.

I suppose it will be starting again soon . . . 🙄

Robert says:
13 March 2020

I have been called several times with the same thing, mentioning that my appliance insurance is due for renewal, which I know cannot be the case as I have recently renovated my kitchen and all the appliances were from John Lewis and so they have a long guarantee period. When I ask which brand of appliance is due for renewal they usually state a brand I dont own. I tell them reasonably politely that I dont need insurance.
I also had a similar type call for my TV, saying the insurance was due for renewal. Having recently purchased a new TV from John Lewis with a 5 year guarantee I knew it was a scam. When I asked which TV? he said it was a Samsung. I told him I dont have a Samsung TV and he hung up.

Gordon McCaghrey says:
13 March 2020

We have been called about this on numerous occasions. If we ask them about the machine that is covered they always say “Hotpoint”. At one stage we said we do not have a Hotpoint, we have a Bosch, and their response was that Bosch are part of Hotpoint.
Quite often they appear to be phoning from India. At one phone call I asked the person how he could get up every morning knowing that he was going to spend his day telling lies to people- he just carried on with his script as if I had not said anything.

Neil Dawson says:
17 March 2020

So many times, I just play along when they get to the crunch I ask if they will insure a fridge, freezer and cooker are over 10 years old, they say yes will if I had done that when I brought them I would have paid for them twice over. Same with TVs etc. JUST DO NOT Fall for it. I wonder how much their phone bills are ot are they using skype or other cheap methods.

Gillian Taylor says:
18 March 2020

My elderly mother, who has dementia, was called by one of these companies in Januray, advising her to buy an extended warranty on an appliance – I think it was her washing machine. She agreed and gave them her bank details to set up a direct debit. Shortly after, she got worried and phomed my brother to say she’d given her bank details to someone but couldn’t remember who or why.
My brother took her to the bank and established that no money was missing from her account, and the bank blocked her card and issued a new one. When I visited a couple of weeks later, I found a letter from the company, advising the details of the direct debit she’d agreed and forgotten about. I took it to her bank, who cancelled the direct debit before any money had been taken out.
Mum lives with me now ( I was visiting in order to bring her back with me), so I answer the phone and take care of all paperwork. Any communication from the scammers will be going to her old address, so they won’t get very far.

nucci says:
18 March 2020

I got two calls recently, one from AO (I indeed bought a dishwasher and washing machine from them in the past, but no Insurance) and one from someone claiming to be from Legal and General (I’ve never bought anything from them). AO were honest, even though a tad aggressive in their selling. I disconnected the call when the guy was refusing the take No for an answer.

The “Legal and General” person pretended my insurance was about to expire (something I never bought can’t be expiring), but understood when I No and ended the call.

My insurance policy for non-movable electronics is simple: if it doesn’t last as long as I would expect it to given my level of usage, then I don’t buy your brand next time.

nucci says:
18 March 2020

My Mistake, replace “Legal and General” above with “Domestic and General”.

ken palmer says:
18 March 2020

I get the phone calls regularly but just tell them they are liars!

Graham Heard says:
18 March 2020

I was scammed by company telling me that I owed them money for appliance cover and that I should take advantage of their reduced rate for the upcoming year of £169.99.When my bank declined to pay them via debit card they called me back twice and told me I’d have to pay with a different card as I owed them the money.I reluctantly paid via credit card because I thought that if it was dodgy at least I would be able to get the money back through the section 75 act.When I looked at my credit card statement the name against the transaction was an Educational Software company in Manchester nothing to do with appliance cover at all.Needless to say calling the number back was a complete waste of time as it just rang out and there was nobody there.I have since seen that there is a lot of this type of scam going around at the moment so it’s something to be wary of.With a bit of luck I will be lucky this time as I’ll get my money back but I’ll know better next time for sure.

Sreeves says:
19 March 2020

I have been contacted by one company regarding my washing machine. They are quite indignant when I say I don’t have one. The address they have for me is nearby but not my address. I asked them how they got my details but they would not say instead saying they could write me a letter explaining where they got my details.

They addressed it to the incorrect address thankfully our local postman thought this was odd and posted it through my door. I visited the people living at the property concerned thinking they had somehow given my details and bought the insurance. But speaking to them they had no idea and I believe them. The letter says they have now removed my data but I am not holding my breath!

Also more worrying I am in a local residents association and two weeks ago sent out an email with the address for the next meeting. I was then phoned yesterday by a company asking about my appliance insurance at the address quoted in te email. That has me very worried. Do I need to get rid of all my email address are they reading my gmail?

nucci says:
19 March 2020

Change your passwords and enable 2-factor authentication if you can, just as a precaution. It’s probable that it’s just coincidence, or they are getting this information from someone you’re interacting with. You may be surprised, but some free wifi hotspots ask for your contact info when you connect, and they default to the right to sell/share this info to third parties. So many ways for them to get your contact while you’re going about your life unaware.

2-factor authentication should make it much harder for anyone else to get into your email.

Another good idea is to set up and then use different email accounts for different purposes.