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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
Penny Simpson says:
30 April 2021

I keep getting phone calls on my mobile phone from numbers beginning with 0161 667 xxxx and also 0141 447 xxxx, these are cold callers from Manchester & Glasgow specifically. I don’t ever answer calls beginning with 0161 0r 0141 & just block them immediately. They try again with different variations of the numbers (last 4). They have been reported online but they don’t give up easily & they are often about appliance insurance. I feel sorry for people who live in these places as they maybe would be seeing it as local & would answer it. (Note: as best I know, D&G Apliance have Brighton-based telephone numbers but they have 0844 number too).

I had a call yesterday about insurance for my washing machine and my freezer. It was quite obvious that it was a “Scam” call as I do not have any insurance for any of my kitchen appliances. They quickly “hung up” saying that they were going to check out my assertions that I did not have any insurance.

Lindsay Larcombe says:
30 April 2021

I Has been contacted to a three times recently about insurance on my skybox. I know this is a scam as I don’t insure my skybox. I tell them this and then hang up but it is getting a little irritating

Paul says:
30 April 2021

We have been getting cold calls about washing machine warranties for many month now, sometimes 3 or 4 calls a week. One caller was a lady with an Asian accent called herself Dave! At first I was polite and told them not to call again. Recently I’ve become more aggressive in my tone to them, they still carry on calling. It is very annoying, hope one day they will take the hint.

Thomas Broomhead says:
30 April 2021

My wife fell for one of these calls and paid £195 to “renew” cover (which it turned out we never had) on our washing machine. We received paper work purporting to be for one years cover on a Hotpoint washing machine. My wife thought she had purchased three years cover for our Bosch machine. We tried to contact the insurer, Protect 365, but none of the phone numbers on the paperwork provided actually worked. Eventually we realised we had been scammed and contacted our bank who were able to refund or recover our money. Not long after that we received another phone call from Protect 365 to inform us that we were in breach of contact and had to pay £65 to fix this, which I reluctantly did to get rid of them. My bank was horrified. We continue to get calls from similar undertakings which offer us cover for everything, including our TV and it`s aerial, but we`ve learned to ignore all such calls now.

I had an equally appalling experience with these people too. They have been sued by D&G but have now setup again under a different company and a different director.

Latest scam call received recently not so much a ‘cold call’ but I would like to draw your attention to this one. The call went straight into an aggressive recorded message purporting that “Your National Insurance Number is being cancelled. You have been associated with fraudulent activities and will be taken to court. If you do not respond you could lose your house, and other assets. Press 1 to speak to……………” I ended the call at that point. Caller ID was given as 07585 678391. Tried the number day later with my caller ID OFF, number was ‘not available’.

Liz says:
30 April 2021

We have had at least four such calls recently – I just let the person speak, say nothing and it’s not long before he/she terminates the call! I have tried ringing the number from a different ‘phone to discover that it’s unobtainable!

I had a cold call from Appliance Plan UK yesterday, I wasn’t feeling at all well and didn’t really want to take the call, but she said it was about my washing machine and that they were lowering the price. Long story short, I gave her my bank details and she said another firm would be ringing to set up the direct debit. I checked my bank details and my insurance policies and knew I didn’t already have this insurance. When the second company rang I asked who they were and she said Britannia, I’m now wondering if they’re part of the scam. I haven’t set up a direct debit but I’m going to contact my bank anyway.

Goodness me the comments are coming thick and fast now. I really do think there are so many of these companies out there now that there is simply no way to get on top of this.

Many of these scammers are operating as multiple ‘companies’ some real, some fake. I wonder if they start with a genuine company then hassle vulnerable folk using fake companies.

It might not solve the problem completely, but these service plans are basically an ‘insurance’ so need to be authorised and registered as such.

They also need to use the address they operate from and not hide in accountants or virtual offices.

New companies need to be registered to the address they will operate from and not the intermediary who sets them up.

I have mentioned this one to you before that shows the extent these scammers go to in setting up a mixture of fake and legitimate companies they hide within, but for anyone who didn’t see it:
https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/home-appliance-insurance-cold-call-scams/#comment-1614802

Their new one is UK Service Plan Ltd. No idea if D&G are aware or if they can do anything about it. Surely its contempt of court. I guess they have to prove the directors are linked. Their new website is

http://www.ukserviceplan.co.uk

Not necessarily, alfa.
D+G say:
“What is the difference between a protection plan and an insurance policies?
With a protection plan, some insurance laws and regulations don’t apply. However, you still have extensive rights under other UK laws, including consumer rights legislation.

We also work with a government-approved dispute resolution body, The Consumer Ombudsman Service. That means if you’re not happy with a resolution to a complaint, you can have our decision reviewed independently for free.

Ff. says:
1 May 2021

My 101 year old mother had three calls from Appliance Plan UK asking her to renew £9 per month for washing machine insurance. I took last call and asked them why she would be taking out insurance on an old machine and that I thought they were scammers. The caller was English and so friendly and she didn’t answer when I said I thought it was a scam, apologised for bothering a101 year old and rang off. I called the number back but was unobtainable – no surprise there!

I dodged a bullet yesterday. But it seems that this is happening to everyone! Shocking.

Malcolm says:
30 April 2021

Some of these callers have taken the trouble to find out my name, so ask for me by name and with an English accent. But they don’t know exactly what appliances we have, so use general terms.
They are quite good, but since we don’t take out appliance insurance it’s soon obvious that it’s a scam.

Domestic & General have done very nicely out of this scam. They seem to be the only ones above criticism and with a market monopoly.

Margaretta Fisher says:
30 April 2021

I have over 6 calls telling me my insurance for washing machine was due for renewal. I have no such insurance, and have blocked each number.

Just had call from 01224015056 regarding expiry of washing machine warranty expiry, (expires in November). I told her it was a scam & she agreed, the call then disconnected just as I was about to tell her of my thoughts of her.

barbara BELL says:
30 April 2021

Yes , I had a phone call saying they were from D&G about my washing machine insurance. Well I do have a contract so the call seemed genuine. The young man was very well spoken and very polite, he said the price had gone down and that was why he was ringing. He wanted my bank details to alter the monthly amount !! I said no and why would he need my details if I was already a customer. He asked if I wanted to speak to his manager so I replied I don’t care who I talk to I am not giving you my bank details and hung up. Very easy to get caught out if you are already a D&G customer.

Just a recent one-off call purporting to from an insurer about cover I had for household items. He hung up when I queried which items and which company he was from as I didn’t have such cover.

David Jarvis says:
30 April 2021

I have been called about washing machine cover, I just tell them I have just got a brand new machine so they hang up. Have also had a couple of calls from Microsoft telling me I have been hacked and allow them to log onto my PC to resolve the problem. I just told them I had a Doctors appointment and had to go so hung up !!

I’m having the same problem constantly I have insurance with well known respected company checked with them they reassured me and gave good advice contacted my bank who will check for any suspicious activity on my account even after doing all this I’m thinking of getting a whistle .

My wife received a call the other day asking for her by name & stating that our washing machine insurance was due (which it wasn’t) He did not give his or the name of the company he represented. Luckily my wife suspected it was a scam & put the ‘phone down.

Paula Butler says:
30 April 2021

Just to lighten the tone here, I worked in a call centre and the best rebuff from someone who didn’t want to hear from me was an old chap who sung to me “Some enchanted evening” from the South Pacific film. When he paused singing I started to talk and he sang again… I had to hang up in the end. Try this, it keeps you from getting wound up.

I am always getting calls a bout insurance on my washer ljust say no thanks but also getting a lot of calls from Cyprus which l don’t answer

Ian says:
1 May 2021

Had calls from 01224015056 – sounded like Indian callcentre. Quite aggressive.

Ivan Lake says:
1 May 2021

In my experience domestic appliances are most likely to breakdown shortly after installation and are covered by the maker’s guarantee. After that period they will fail eventually but are likely to be so old that parts are no longer available. So I believe there is no point in taking out insurance.
Regularly we receive calls about insurance renewal. Usually I hang up immediately. Sometimes I ask for a few details, eg the make of the appliance. They hang up very quickly!