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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 Have had the same experience as Moid. I do not use these sort of warranties as i think they are a waste of money. despite telling them we are on TPS, they regularly ring us and I am now downright rude to them and hang up.

Unfortunately, TPS only helps prevent genuine sales calls from reputable companies, not scam calls. Seeing as scammers are criminals, they’re hardly likely to comply with the legal requirement to check the numbers they are calling against the TPS register – that would be like a robber’s get-away car keeping to the speed limit!

Gordon Wills says:
29 April 2021

Had a few calls concerning the warranty expiring on the washing machine.
I wouldn’t take one out anyway, but I like to ask questions.
I asked him what make is my washing machine? there’s a slight delay before he answers Bosch, wrong I reply! he then puts the phone down.

I’ve had several of these. I usually ask them for the make of the appliance, the year that we took out the guarantee and the month. Backup questions include asking them the type of appliance and then the model. Usually they can’t name a make that we have in the home and so I put the phone down. The same technique works on computers, especially when they claim that my computer has sent them a message saying that an error has occurred that I haven’t seen on the screen. In that case asking for the Operating System and the latest level usually stymies them.

More recently the calls are mostly automated claiming there has been a fraud on my debit card, credit card, bank account etc. Asking which card, bank issuing it etc usually works. Of they guess the long number then I put the phone down and phone the bank on another line and discuss whether to replace the card because of possible fraud.

I had a call yesterday and told him my washing machine was rubbish anyway and would not think about taking out more cover. Then put the phone down.

I get a call saying that someone has paid £680.00 using my Visa card in Spain. I know it’s a lie because my cards got a limit and this amount is far too much. So I just put the phone down.

We have had most of the above happenings. I asked the make of the washing machine they were referring to and found it was a make I last had in 2008. My brother in law gets calls about problems with his computer …but he has never had a computer which is a bit of a give away that it is a scam

I get the phone about the washing M/C. They know the name of my M/C. But I got a bundle with a company which cover every appliance and my water pipes and drain. I put the phone down every time

I have had a number of these calls. I tell them that my washing machine was bought second hand, which it was, and they hang up!

J Leighton says:
29 April 2021

The problem is, that slamming the phone down on these “scambags”, as i see it, is just doing them a favour. Why I say this is that it seem to me, that the only way you can really get at these “ice creams” (rhyming slang for freezers – geezers) is to waste their time. After all while you’re doing that, they can’t be scamming anyone more vulnerable than you. I’m pretty old, although, thankfully, not vulnerable. I therefore have the time to engage them in conversation – long conversation – and have fun at the same time. I urge you, if you have the time, to string ’em along for as long as possible. The only thing they don’t have going for them is time itself. So to hell with ’em.

Brenda Hayhoe says:
29 April 2021

Called about renewing insurance on washing machine & fridge freezer. Told them delighted to renew as washer 15 years old freezer at least 7 so any problems they would renew. They slammed phone down

Regularly get this type of call from these idiots telling me that I have Drainage cover with them and that I signed up to a three year contract with them when I did no such thing.I usually just hang up and then blacklist the number.Unfortunately they tend to call from lots of different mobile numbers so it’s a bit of a job keeping them at bay, they even ring from withheld numbers which is the most annoying as you can’t block the number then.

Dot says:
29 April 2021

Had calls twice in two days about renewing my washing machine cover + one saying HRMC I owe them money. It’s usually our landline. But now it’s my mobile. Where do they find my numbers. I’m beginning to hate my phone 🙈

We get a call about once a month, usually from someone with an Asian accent, wanting to renew our washing machine warranty cover. We tell them we don’t have a washing machine and put the phone down.

Had a call this morning, 29/4/21 from Emily trying to get me to renew an insurance I haven’t got from phone number02045402333.

Sue says:
29 April 2021

I had a call a few weeks ago from a company called Ideal Home wanting to visit to check out my home insulation (loft, cavity wall etc). I don’t usually engage with these cold calls but she was pleasant so I listened to what she had to say before advising her I was not interested. Later that day a really aggressive male phoned from the same company telling me it was the law that I had to agree to a visit to check out my home insulation. I warned I was going to put the phone down and did just that as he was ranting at me. I am elderly but not usually intimidated though I have to say I was very taken aback. Also concerned that some elderly people may be very upset by this kind of caller. Advice to anyone now is do not engage with these cold callers – just put the phone down.

Susan says:
29 April 2021

I have had numerous calls about household appliance insurance. Initially, I explained that we’d sold the house and no longer had the appliances, but I started to get cross with the repeated calls. I started to say, “Go away you’re a scam caller”, sounding very cross and after 2 or 3 further calls, they’ve given up. Thank goodness.

Colin lyne says:
29 April 2021

I like these calls as they are fun! I have done all the above, but one I really like to waste their time is to give them the details they want, whether bank or credit card details. Unfortunately for them, everything is made up, they go away happy ( until they use the details) and I am glad to have wasted, on average, half an hour of their time. Great fun!

Got several of these calls last year. When questioned they normally say it is relating to my Hotpoint washing machine. I don’t have a Hotpoint washing machine. I have also received a similar one about home insurance. I now have a CPR Call Blocker V5000 where you can press the block button to prevent future calls from these numbers. Extremely easy to connect between your main phone and incoming line. Doesn’t need external power or batteries as it takes it power from the telephone line. The latest number to ring me re. warranty expiry was 01316080817 (now blocked!).

I have had countless calls of this nature, and just let them ponce on. For its paying my future pension, on the phone network. Then tell them to get lost in no uncertain terms.

This now goes for the rise in cold door callers after “Any gardening needs doing?” I tell them to get lost for they have not been asked onto my property so get lost, or a body bag will be needed.

I subscribe to Amazon Prime for £7.99 a month. Every month round about the time my subscription is due I get numerous calls from a disembodied voice saying I am about to be charged a £79.99 subscription if I don’t press 1 NOW.
Every time a get a call I try to block the number, but it still keeps coming.

Maz says:
29 April 2021

I have been cold called by a recorded voice on our land line saying my internet provider was about to terminate service. I didn’t wait to get to the end of the recording, where no doubt there would have been a request for bank details – I hung up.

Also my husband and I regularly get texts asking for £1.99 or £2.99 supposedly owed for a Royal Mail delivery. I always report the mobile number, but it is time-consuming.

I was called today offering me a discount on this years insurance for my washer dryer they knew all about me. I am going to call the company i insure my washer dryer with tomorrow. They said they were getting letters ready to send out.
However I already have my renewal no mention of a discount as I havent needed to have a call out for repair, and i told her so. I lost my rag because I have been paying huge amounts of insurance i didnt need to anyway and told her they were ripping me off anyway. The deal is they replace my machine for free if it cant be repaired.
I didnt believe her and started to cry raging at the company so she got the wrong person to deal with and I hung up as I am upset with this insurance deal i cant affored to stop now the machine is getting old! It will be embarrassing if this was a call from the real company though it is an extravagant insurance I am in a Catch 22 situation cant stop paying insurance now the machine is old.

There are an awful lot of calls regarding insurances I have been getting my answer to them is I’ll phone my insurance company and ask for their name. I also say that I am recording the call. I have had them put the phone down on me. I will then contact the insurance company and tell them.