/ 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?

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 conversation.comments@which.co.uk.

Comments
CHARLOTTE NUTMAN says:
10 January 2022

I had a call today about my whirlpool washing machine. They had already called this morning which I missed. They said the manufacturer warranty was up for renewal but it wasn’t until he started going on about renewing it and covering call outs etc I remembered I don’t have a whirlpool machine lol.
I wouldn’t pay for that anyway its cheaper to buy a new machine nowadays. The number was 01342 398040.

The same number appears in the last post on the previous page of this Conversation, Charlotte. The call can be reported as contributor ‘Wingman’ has mentioned in these discussions.

Unless you are unlucky, appliance cover is not worthwhile. It’s worth looking at the cost of repair before buying a new machine.

Call today from “Homecare” regarding our domestic appliance cover. When asked which appliances, she said “dishwasher and fridge-freezer”. When I said this was nonsense and said never to call me again she hung up.

Calling number: 02045711727

Hi andrewwyss, thanks ever so much for sharing the callers number. I am pleased you were not fooled by the call.

It’s essential that consumers report calls of this nature. It only requires a small number of reports from consumers for the Authorities to investigate and take action. If you have not already done so, I would strongly recommend you report the number to the ICO. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service you should also report this to the TPS. It’s relatively quick to submit reports online and will assist the Authorities to investigate and take action, which in turn may prevent others from being scammed. Links for both the ICO and TPS can be found on previous posts.

By the way, I emailed scamwatch@which.co.uk as suggested at the end of the article and got the reply “Thank you for contacting Which?. This email address is no longer regularly monitored.”

That email is still ok @andrewwyss: the autoresponse is up as a flag that you may not get an immediate response from our scams team. If you’re looking to simply report a scam, the best option is actually the Scam Sharer tool.

Steve says:
17 January 2022

I’ve had 02045711727 ring me around 10 times in recent weeks, including this morning at 8:17am.

They claim to be/pose as Homeserve, who I believe are a legitimate home emergency insurance company. Usually scammers are calling from Calcutta, but this phone number resolves to London.

I’m on the edited electoral register and am ex-directory, but this was originally a family home and the last record the scammers have when accessing the electoral register at 192.com and on Info disks is for my elderly father. Out of this I get a lot of scam calls.

He died 11 years ago, which they won’t know, and he would be over 100 years old now if alive, so they must see him as a lone occupant and easy prey, and they often ask for him by name.

Hi Steve. Thanks for sharing the callers number.

Targeting the elderly is a common tactic of these rogue companies and they will ignore requests not to call again. Number spoofing is often used to avoid detection, so it can be difficult to determine the true identity of the caller.

However, the Authorities are taking action against these rogue companies thanks to reports from consumers and it remains essential that consumers continue to report calls of this nature. Just a small number of reports will prompt the Authorities to investigate and take action.

If you have not already done so, I would strongly recommend you report the number to the ICO. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service you should also report this to the TPS. It’s relatively quick to submit reports online and action by the Authorities may prevent others from being scammed. Links for both the ICO and TPS can be found on previous posts.