/ 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
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..

Mavis McDonnell says:
25 April 2020

Yes got one yesterday, just said no thankyou, they then asked why, and I said I don’t have the money to cover the monthly cost, also I have fell for this one before, thankfully realised about 3 months in, and queried it at the bank, I then cancelled it.

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.

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”.

This is a classing D&G scam. They are the biggest scammers in this industry but somehow have managed to manipulate the likes of Which into fighting their corner and fighting off their competition. You buy a brand new machine from AO and then AO call you to sell you a D&G warranty that you don’t even need as you have 12 months manufacturers warranty. I don’t know how this is legal. But the best bit is after 12 months they put the direct debit up massively and hope you don’t notice. It is beyond me why trading standards don’t investigate D&G

I recently bought an appliance and soon after I received a call from D&G to try and sell me an extended warranty, which I had refused at the time of purchase and again when registering the purchase with the manufacturer in order to be informed of any safety recalls.

I am not certain if my phone number was given to D&G by the retailer or the manufacturer. As far as I know, I did not consent to my phone number to be passed on.

I support your suggestion that Which? should take action, Mike. I well remember when Which? drew our attention to overpriced extended warranties and the scare tactics used by electrical retailers to convince customers to buy them. That was in the late 80s or early 90s and at the time was very successful.

@gmartin – Hi George – Please could you ask a member of the legal team whether retailers or manufacturers are allowed to pass on customers’ contact details to other companies.

There are people who are prepared to buy extended warranties, to ensure that in the event of a fault they are not deprived of the facility for any longer than necessary. What we need is a full investigation to see how such convenience is best provided, the costs involved for both single and multiple appliance policies, how to decide what appliances could best be covered and how to assess value for money. Which? have investigated boiler cover.

Setting value and peace of mind is not easy but the analysis can be worth the effort. My dishwasher has cost me £18 a year to cover for 10 years repair or replace. I thought that was worthwhile. I have had one call-out when an unfortunate incident damaged a control button panel fixing that was repaired without dispute.

Yes D&G are very very clever. Those Which? articles always end the same way ‘contact your bank they also offer the cover’ but guess who gives the bank the plans? D&G. It all comes back to them. And the best bit is their extended warranty business Is NOT FCA REGISTERED. So I don’t know why Which? refers to them being reputable and regulated. They are not. It would be good to hear if Which? are in any way getting any payment from D&G for these anti competitor articles. I for one am amazed not many people have seen through this reckless monopoly that is crushing competition by labelling them rogues and cornering the industry by making banks their accomplices.

Mike – According to the D&G website: “Domestic & General Insurance Plc is authorised and regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Domestic & General Services Limited is an appointed representative of Domestic & General Insurance Plc. Domestic & General Insurance Services Limited is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our address and details of our authorisation can be checked on the FCA website ( https://register.fca.org.uk) or by contacting the FCA on 0800 111 6768.” I cannot find a Wikipedia article on D&G.

When D&G called me to try to sell an extended warranty I pointed out that my phone number was registered with the Telephone Preference Service because I don’t want nuisance calls. They did not respond.

Service plans, maintenance & support plans are provided by Domestic & General Services Limited.

I take this to mean that their service plans aren’t regulated. Its cleverly done though and very convoluted.

This page gives an FCA number for Domestic & General Services Limited: https://www.domesticandgeneral.com/company-information-legal

I’m doing my best to ensure that D&G don’t get any of my money.

No one is compelled to buy domestic appliance insurance, of course. What would greatly assist many people in making a considered decision – for financial or convenience reasons for example – would be the availability of necessary information.

First would be a survey of available single and multi- appliance insurers, costs and terms.

Then, product and/or brand information. For example, in a given time period, how likely is a particular appliance or brand likely to suffer one – or more – of a number of common failures. How much is a paid-for repair likely to cost. How much does insurance for that brand cost.

Given basic information we could get a better idea of premium vs. possible repair costs, and how much we might be paying for the convenience of being looked after.

Is Which? or anyone else on a position to provide such information. Given Which?’s testing, surveys, links with international organisations, I would have thought the answer would be affirmative. But it will require a bit of work.

Neither insurance nor warranties should detract from the objective of getting better appliance reliability and economically repairable appliances however. But this will come at a cost; most obviously in any impact on the bottom end of the market; quality does have a price tag.

Hi Wavechange.

They are down as an ‘appointed representative’ but not as authorised.

Also this article is old but suggests they are not regulated by the fca for service plans.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/apr/23/dg-insurance-policy-service-plan-domestic-general

Thanks very much. I’ve bookmarked the article for future reference.

Maybe Which? will look into this. Retailers such as Currys also service plans and they might be worth looking at to see if they are not regulated.

The Guardian article gives what I regard as very good advice: “In our view, this is just another reason to call time on these expensive warranties. Most readers would be better off putting the premium in the bank and just buying a replacement as required. And you don’t have to spend hours trying to make a claim.” In addition there is plenty of help online for diagnosing and fixing problems yourself. Some time back I used a couple of YouTube videos to find the problem with my dishwasher and now I know what maintenance I need to do to prevent the problem recurring. That involves removing the side of the machine and is not covered in the instructions.

I’m not sure why your username is shown as Mike here and Davidelliott under ‘recent comments’. 🙂

There have been a number of ‘insurers’ calling recently to renew my washing machine or life insurance policies. They say they are due for renewal and they can do them now for me.

I don’t actually have any to renew but it doesn’t stop them telling me I took them out some time ago and could have been through a multitude of ways. A few days ago, one confirmed it was through my mortgage – which I don’t have.

Insurance with D&G is something you do only once.

We had a top-of-the-range CRT TV insured with D&G from around 1997 to 2007 with one repair in that time. By 2007 when the TV broke down and was unrepairable, CRT TVs no longer existed and D&G would only give us the money to buy a cheap basic LED.

They had increased the insurance payments, but decreased the value of the TV.

Never again.

After a contractor flooded my previous house I landed up with a cheap polyester carpet to replace my wool carpet – certainly not new but being in the guest bedroom was hardly worn. I would have fought for a better offer but just wanted to get the house on the market. I suppose it depends on the terms & conditions of the cover.

I have learned that it is difficult to avoid D&G. If you manage to buy a product with a decent guarantee period, part of that could be a D&G insurance warranty. 🙁

If I get one more marketing call from D&G I will make a complaint.

ken palmer says:
18 March 2020

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

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.

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.

Lisa kerr says:
6 April 2020

My mother in law was contacted by a company called Home Appliance Support. She is over 80 and recently diagnosed with dementia. She gave them her bank card and was charged £99 for insurance on a washing machine. When we found out we rang the company and they agreed to refund – which they did two weeks later. She has today had another call from a similar sounding company – she is very upset and we are very annoyed !!

If your mother in law is registered with the Telephone Preference Service, companies are not allowed to make marketing calls and can be reported if they do. There is a tool for reporting these calls on the Which? website: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-stop-nuisance-phone-calls

Diane Johnson says:
16 April 2020

Hi. Had a call today saying they were ASG and offering cover for my washing machine ‘now the manufacturers warranty is due to expire’- when I said my washing machine is 10 years old and I have never had an issue with it (it really has been an excellent buy), they put the phone down.

Richard says:
16 April 2020

Just been called by a company calling themselves “White Goods Protection Ltd” about a renewal of our Washing Machine cover. Thought it might be a scam so asked them to send me details via email so I could investigate further. They said they would need my debit card details before doing that, which I obviously refused to give out over the phone so they just hung up on me.

Not your usual Indian call centre asking to fix your computer but a well spoken English women, but still obviously a scam.

We received a call on our landline (despite it being registered with the TPS) from a guy calling himself Jason on 9th April. He told me that our dishwasher warranty was about to expire, and was offering a new policy. He sounded genuine enough at first, because he knew my name, our home address and the make of our (Bosch) washing machine. I knew that I already had a current warranty on our machine, but played along anyway. He quoted £99 for a year’s cover, and £200 for three years but explained that they no longer offer monthly payments, which seemed odd. I realised he’d not actually mentioned the name of his company – I’d assumed he was from D&G as that’s who our other appliance policies are with – but then, when probed, he said he worked for a company called ‘White Goods UK’. When I asked him what their relationship was with Bosch, he hung up. I redialled the number – 02031169643 – but it was unobtainable, so was clearly a false/diverted number job.

So… a very convincing scam call that could very easily have conned a vulnerable person, but is worrying anyway because of the knowledge he had of my personal details. My theory is that, having bought the washing machine at Currys three years ago, this is most likely to have its origins in their massive data breach, which involved the harvesting of the personal information of 14 million people, including full names, postcodes, email addresses etc. They were fined £500k – see https://www.itpro.co.uk/policy-legislation/data-protection/354492/currys-pc-world-parent-firm-hit-with-ps500k-fine-over. This would seem the most obvious line of enquiry.

Karen Streeton says:
25 April 2020

I often get these type of phone calls. As I have never taken out this type of insurance cover for my appliances I knew this was a scam. What I tend to do is ask them to send me the paperwork and then I will consider taking out the cover. This means they are on the telephone longer therefore not able to target other vulnerable people. Obviously I never receive anything. I am also able to block their telephone number with my provider but this works for a couple of weeks and then I start getting the calls again. I am also keen to point out that I would never give out my bank details to anyone who has telephoned me.

I was contacted on 20th April by a man telling me that my washing machine insurance had expired, and asking if I’d like to renew it. I said I didn’t insure household appliances because it was too costly. He was very polite, and said he would take me off his list. He had asked for me by my name, but I didn’t give him any other details. It was only after the call that I began to think about how long I have had my washing machine. I looked up the sales details and realised that I had bought it seven years ago this August! I then began to question the call. Insurances on washing machines don’t usually continue for seven years, and if this was a legitimate call, it would be expiring in August. The call number was 01273054522.

Adrian Appley says:
27 April 2020

Today, monday, I was phoned by someone claiming to be the insurance company that I have a plumbing contract with. I let the lady inform me that as I have not made a claim they were offering me a reduced renewal rate. Eventually I informed her I have never had plumbing insurance cover and she hastily disappeared. The phone number was 01285 365002.

We have had several calls about insurance for the washing machine and we have just said…not interested….and put the phone down. However last time I asked them which machine they were proposing to insure and they told me that it was the Hotpoint. I havent had one since 2010 so again told them to get lost…and didnt tell them the make of my current machine.

Mandy A says:
4 May 2020

We got a call today from these people saying our washing machine cover was overdue. Fortunately I’m not gullible and asked which company they were from. They answered ASG. I firmly told them they shouldn’t be calling us and told them not to call again. I put the phone down and blocked the number they called from. It concerned me that if someone vulnerable had answered the call, they would have been scammed