/ 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 scamwatch@which.co.uk.

Comments

I received a call of this nature about three years ago, but as the washing machine in question was only a couple of months old (and therefore still within the manufacturer’s warranty, let alone any warranty extension policy) I became suspicious immediately. When I asked the caller to confirm the name of the company he was calling from (as I was sitting at my PC at the time, so I could look them up) he hung up on me.
Thankfully, since investing in handsets with TrueCall built in about 18 months ago, not a single scam call has got through (or, for that matter, any genuine but equally unwanted sales calls).

I receive at least 3 or 4 calls every months from people supposedly trying to sell me extended warranties on various kitchen appliances (fridge/ freezer, washing machine, etc.). I just respond that I am not interested as I never take out any entended warranties (which is true).

I get a few calls a month about “your washing machine, TV, dishwasher boiler” etc. I immediately put the phone down.

I had a call a few days ago (second one in a month) telling me that my washing machine manufacturers warranty had just expired and offering me a renewal on better terms. They spoke perfect English which tends to make them sound more legitimate. I asked who they were they said “Appliance Plan UK”, I replied that I had never heard of them, they then said Oh we are working with the machine manufacturer. I stopped the call by saying that someone was at the door (which they weren’t) and asked them to send me details by post. I then Googled the name they gave me, and guess what? I couldn’t find them

I had this experience too – just coincidence ?
?? my washing machine was a year old but they did know the make of machine and claimed that company had let them know my warrantee was expiring although in fact it did have a 2 yr guarantee which alerted me and like others I don’t like extended guarantees. It worries me that they so often have particular knowledge to reinforce their lies. I just said no thanks but they did try again later that day.

Jane Dooley says:
30 April 2021

I have come across a serious case of this. I recently began to support an elderly lady (aged 90yrs). She had letters all over the place, some unopened. As I sorted them to file them for her I began to discover numerous insurance policies. I began to collect them and log them. Many were for devices that she did not and never had owned, most of her appliances were so old that they would have been declared obsolete anyway. When I added them up there were upwards of 45 policies to the value (amount that she had paid out) added up to £9,000 – mainly in 2020. Although she is 90 she does not have dementia – just lonely and a little depressed following the death of a very dear friend. She does not recall agreeing to any of these policies. Fortunately she had granted Power of Attorney to a relative who negotiated with the bank to close her account and open a new one. The bank successfully recovered some of her money but a number of these companies continue to try to get her new details. We have given her a script but I have recently come across another one. I believe that the ‘companies’ have passed around her details extensively. I am at a loss as to who to report this to, I have kept my list and most of the letters/policies.

Pauline Austen says:
30 April 2021

I have been getting these cold calls by phone about insurance for appliances for years and I know immediately they are thriving scammers as I never insure appliances in the first place

In January I was contacted by someone stating they were from Domestic & General. The start of the ‘sell’ was that my insurance were up for renewal, which they were! The offer was cover for them all for the next 3years, for 1 payment. They went over what the savings etc would be, all seemed normal but was asked at one point the policy number, which my response was, you must know that but the clever response was – yes I have it but are checking I am talking to the correct person. I was starting to feel pressured, told them it was too much to pay in one go, figure reduced, kept feeling pressured – so put the phone down. The same person rang back twice more over the next few days.
I had to contact D&G, asked about this promotion, was told that they didn’t know that the company had this promotion. Last week suddenly I had a call for the same thing, told them I knew it was a scam, the phone went dead quickly.

John says:
30 April 2021

I have received these calls about twice a year for the last five years. I have always refused any request
I have never ever taken out any cover .for any appliance .
It is better to pay if anything goes wrong (It costs less.

Liz butler says:
30 April 2021

I get four or five of these a week. If I ask them where they are calling from I usually get a British location even though the number shows as international. Them I ask them the time.

TREVOR says:
30 April 2021

I receive at least one call a week, often more, telling me the warranty on my washing machine has just expired. They usually ring off before I stop laughing – my machine is 40 years old.

When I report the number to who-called.co.uk, they often have a full range of different telephone scams reported against them.

I keep getting calls saying my washing machine insurance needs renewing I normally hang up , as they continued to call I told them I’m insured with british gas later that day I had a call saying they where british gas offering me half price cover for a one off payment .

I have been receiving these calls occasionally over the last few years but particularly recently. I have had about three calls in the last two months. I got suspicious when they said my cooker was up for renewal and I do get that covered annually from Curry’s. They told me I had 3 other appliances due for renewal. I said I needed to check as I was not sure which were covered and I was getting confused because I keep getting calls telling me different appliances are due to be renewed. They still tried to pressurise me saying the deal was discounted and would not last if I did not take it out then. Eventually I got rid of them. I had another call about a week later to check if I now wanted the policy. They said they were insuring for the manufacturers. Different company names being used each time. Obviously scams.

We get several calls per day, the old one being amazon prime, which we hang up on. The latest ad in finitem is by Asian callers claiming to be from Virgin or BT telling me I have an infringement on my broadband and are closing me down, so I adpopt the tactic in a calm voice of asking them “Are you a criminal?” by which they are well into their scripted spiel , as no answer is forthcoming as their too absorbed in this I repeat the question to which they cannot answer, look on it as taking the mickey its fun to bait.
However I blame the MP clowns who sit back and do nothing about scam calls, af is we dont pay enough for these services which are overpriced & why in this age of technology does virgin and Westminster turn a blid eye?

Heather Bond says:
30 April 2021

I get calls about once a month about my washing machine insurance. I ask when it ran out because I take a perverse pleasure in wasting their time.
It works for a while until they hang up.
I have never taken out appliance insurance and in any case my washing machine is over 20 years old. The selling of such insurance is itself a bit of a scam as it is cheaper to go on risk yourself

Roger Hayes says:
30 April 2021

I had such a call a couple of months ago. The “gentleman” said he was from Whirlpool and that the cover on our washing machine had expired (which it had, perhaps they knew somehow). Anyway I told him our machine wasn’t one of the Whirlpool brands, and foolishly told him it was a Miele at which point he informed me that Whirlpool owned Miele.
At this point I had to laugh at the poor demented soul and informed him that Miele was privately owned by the Miele family but he insisted and told me at this point that Whirlpool also owned Bosch, Siemens and Neff. I laughed again and told him to get lost.

ivan albert poile says:
30 April 2021

We receive scam calls from these people many times a week,often early morning or in the evening.Although we recognise them for what they are they are very annoying and a nuisance.As this is an ongoing and National problem it is time these were dealt with at Government level and action taken to stop them.With the technology available this would not be difficult,thus reducing the risk to vulnerable people and negating the nuisance factor.They obviously come from outside of the UK.Government action needed NOW.

I bought a BT Advanced Call Blocker telephone several years ago – it has been the best investment I have made – not only does it block anyone not in my address book – it will not ring out if they are not prepared to give their name. I have only had one scam call insisting my insurance payment was due in the last year that some how got through – they were so vague about what the insurance was for that I dropped the ‘phone on them!

Timothy Cassel says:
30 April 2021

When I receive a cold call I say how delighted I am to introduce them to Jesus who will grant them redemption for their sins, and then bang on in a maniacal way. Very effective.

Judith Squires says:
30 April 2021

i had a cold call a few days ago first mentioning the government green energy insulation scheme (now of course defunct) and when I said I was fully insulated, he said there were problems with moisture and mould in the roof and they had a site engineer in my area and would I confirm my postcode. All this was at breakneck speed and when I asked him to slow down and give me the name of his firm, he said he did not understand. I told him it was a cold call and I only dealt with firms I knew and had asked to quote and hung up. I was suspicious from the start as there was a delay when I picked up the phone and several seconds after i finally said hello before he spoke.

r.b.shepherd says:
30 April 2021

I get at least 2 calls a day ,,I just slam the phone down.

We have scam calls every day all day they start around 8.00hrs in the morning until 21.00hrs in the evening we never answer just let it go to the answer phone its always the same number with one number changed.