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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

I get these all time. I just hang up after telling them to go away. As I have breakdown cover for my washing machine and fridge freezer separately, I knew straight off it’s a scam.

John says:
29 April 2021

After a couple of years of pestering from a particular individual and daily “household appliance” or “you need to turn on your computer” calls I purchased from BT some special phones, I think if my memory serves me correct they are called Guardians. Basically when you set them up you preload the system with all the numbers of people or organisations who you are prepared* to talk to and they are the only ones to get through. Any others arrive as announced calls who have to say who they are if you don’t want to talk to them you reject the call and then go to the menu and block the number permanently. There is an option to go to answer machine, but I very rarely find this type of caller can be bothered with it. All rejected call numbers are shown on the phone screen and if you so wish you can google the number and see who it was from on the “who called me” website.

I had just such a call offering to renew home appliance cover on a washing machine and a fridge which I was confident I never had and knew I didn’t want, as I only use insurance which comes at no extra charge from the manufacturer. I asked a couple of questions, said I was on the TPS so she should not be calling me, and eventually insisted that she should not have called me, that I didn’t want her insurance, and she should take me off her list. She went on trying so I hung up.
This rampant scamming is not being dealt with effectively enough by the authorities, and certainly Trading Standards needs the resources to take action.

i have had at least 12 calls about my washing machine and fridge freezer that I bought nearly 15 years ago and at the time had purchased extra cover through the place i had bought them from at the time. This was Currys. I have since moved address and the items have now gone to the big appliance heaven, however, this company is cold calling and its mainly a female with what appears to be an asian accent telling me my appliance insurance needs renewing but they quote my old address.
I believe that the company that I bought my appliances from sold on that data to third parties so hence why I receiving these calls which wont stop even if I block their number, where is the data protection when you sign up to these companies and are they liable????????????

May McLellan says:
29 April 2021

Yes, numerous phone calls re washing machine cover plus numerous calls re recent car accident. I just tell them all I have had at least ten phone calls from their company, I am sick of them contacting me and down with the receiver.

My 77 yr old father got caught out by Coverteam Direct Ltd for appliance cover and by Digital Satellite thinking they were Sky TV. This happened 12 months ago by an unsolicited cold call , they had details of my father and passwords he uses for other established accounts with other companies ?, until i noticed on his bank staements which I have now cancelled any payments through the bank. There were no T&C’s, no e mail and Coverteam Direct tried to take money after he had given a payment to cancel and still keep harrassing my father phoning several times a week however the bank wont accept anything with their name on it now on his account. Action Fraud have been informed. Digital Satellite are hard to get hold of but the phone number given by the bank from the D/Debit is not a genuine number but look who called me routes you to another number and this is registered as a dangerous number on look who called me ! very distressing.

Peter Roberts says:
29 April 2021

I usually say I have to go and get my bank card or details from another room and put the phone under a cushion, while they are waiting they’re not scamming anybody else.

I have had several calls recently from a person saying they were calling about the insurance on my washing machine and fridge freezer. I asked what washing machine and fridge freezer they were talking about. She said ‘your Indesit washing machine and fridge freezer’. When I said I didn’t have any Indesit appliances there was silence from the other end and I put the phone down. The second call i received I just blocked and put the phone down.

Elspeth Clarke says:
29 April 2021

Yes, we get these calls ALL the time. Generally the callers have an Asian accent but not always. Had a very aggressive-sounding London-accented guy phone t’other day, telling me our washing machine was out of warranty. As it is a brand new one (almost) with a 2 year warranty, knew it was yet another scam call. I told him “No, it isn’t, goodbye” and hung up. If you ask them what company they are from, they usually reply “Domestic Appliances” which sounds similar to the company with whom we HAVE insured our domestic appliances. So you need to be aware that they are not who you think they are.

I had a call last week regarding the insurance on my washing machine. I asked which one and she said “ we deal with lots of different brands” my response was that if she knew my insurance needed renewing she should know what make it was. Eventually she said “ hotpoint”. I laughed and said” Nice try I haven’t had a hotpoint for over 20 years. “ I gave her a flea in her ear and hung up.
It makes me angry that people are caught by these companies.

I was called by a convincing woman, who warned me that my washing machine warranty was running out & needed renewing. I thought for a moment, then asked her who I’d bought my machine from & what make it was. She hadn’t a clue, so I told her off & hung up.

Susan Perkins says:
29 April 2021

I have many calls regarding appliance cover and they are very persistant when I say I have never had cover. I usually just hang up on them. I did have one from a young woman who insisted that I had cover and it was her first day in the job and she ended up screaming at me saying she was going to chuck the job in as I “had had a go” at her. Trying to melt my heart of stone!
Now I am targeted regarding loft insulation, house green grants, and solar panel checks.

I receive calls on a regular basis offering me insurance for my washing machine. I try to be polite and say sorry I am not interested as I know this is a scam, then hang up.

Roy Williams says:
29 April 2021

I get lots of calls from Asian women saying there name is Jane, Mary or any other English womans name u care to mention, the same thing happens with an Asian sounding man called Roger, Thomas or similar, I always shout down the phone that is not your real name & put the phone down

Patricia says:
29 April 2021

I too have had many of these calls. I tell them my washing machine is so old, it is cheaper to buy a new one nowadays, than to take out insurance. I then put the phone down.

My parents had calls from a company in Brighton/Worthing and took out the ‘insurance’. Must have had details sold on from another company because they knew their details.
When they tried to cancel they were told to write, and they sent two letters ‘signed for’ but they were never acknowledged.
Eventually they cancelled with their bank and were reimbursed, but a few months later, the company just renewed the direct debit, without permission! It has now been cancelled and the bank have reimbursed and put a watch on any further attempt to renew.

I’m quite wary, but I had a call from an Indian company who knew my name and product that had been out of warranty. It was a which? best buy a washing machine from Beko. Shame on Beko for selling our names, telephone numbers to get the warranty so they can sell our details onto scammers.

This is a new source of income from companies that give you free extra years of insurance. I think Which? out to do a survey as many manufacturers offer this, but may not realise that it goes to scammers. It is also illegal under GDPR laws I guess unless it’s written in small print which we never read

Valerie Jean Powell says:
29 April 2021

I have a twin tub washing machine that empties by gravity – don’t like automatics – and I tell them I don’t have a washing machine when they ring and then put the phone down.
Other callers I often ask “does your mummy know you’re using the phone” and they put the phone down!

Jean says:
29 April 2021

I have a nasty habit of listening for a long time to keep them on the phone from bothering others – then I tell them to get a real job and stop scamming people. I tell them they are b***dy nuisances and should get a real job. The same applies to all those workers for microsoft. BT and open reach and other scammers. I think the telephone company who give them access to our lines are at fault – I would like to sue the lot of them for free line rentals if they are going to leave us open to nuisance calls. I used to get up to 20 a day – funny I loved house, thought I would be rid of them forever, but as soon as a new telephone line was installed I got another set of calls from these nuisance callers- a new number- a new line, and still they are scamming our phones- for heaven’s sake is it not possible to ban them. Telephone preference service is failing us- it is for BT to sort out this mess. We pay for useless lines heavily- not fair.

Thomas Smith says:
29 April 2021

got a call this morning about insurance for MY washing machine which is 15 years old saying it’s time FOR renewal never had IT insured and the caller said IT was for free when I told him I wasn’t interested he replied it was MY loss i replied YOU get nothing for free he hanged up P.S.im aged 76