/ 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
Robert Goodyer says:
6 May 2021

I have had 2 calls this week to my home phone. A gentelman with a strong asian accent said his name was Jack. He said they can insure my washing machine, fridge and TV for £7.99 a month. They said they are called The Homecare company, I asked where they are based and they said Morley Street, London. I asked for their Website address, but he passed me to a female with a better english accent who asked if I was interested in the insurance by which I said I wanted the website details and her contact number. She hung up.
Both calls were very keen to get bank details.
The number they rang from was 01854611292

Yes, I have had many (fake) calls about renewing household goods insurance. BUT ALSO many, many calls telling me that the installer of my solar panels has ceased trading (which is true) and offering to take over the insurance or warranty. They want to send an engineer to check/test my inverter first. I have never agreed to this and suspect that after an engineers visit there would certainly be a problem with the installation that would require fixing. Has anybody agreed to a visit after these ‘cold calls’ and what was the result?

jo parker says:
6 May 2021

We too have had several of these solar panel calls, in one case I did book an appointment for an engineer to visit “as he was in our area the next day!” but I cancelled when I found that the company had only been in business for a matter of months and the whole situation felt off.

Sheila Dean says:
7 May 2021

We regularly get these calls and when asked where They got the info ‘re our panels some have even suggested from a gov. Dept or trade org.

I have had exactly the same call re solar panels. What they didn’t know mine were taken over genuinely by another firm.

David says:
6 May 2021

I received a call today – the caller said she was from the “National Home Appliance Helpline” I think. She started by saying that I had existing insurance that was about to expire, and later changed her story to say that she was offering new insurance to replace expired manufacturer warranties. She seemed quite put out when I explained that I knew she was operating a scam – but that’s she was doing, of course.

I get these request every day I just say I don’t have a contract on my white goods and put the phone down but,sometimes they are very aggressive put phone dawn and ask but to put these calls BT will add them to your list but,it doesant work all the time

Barry says:
7 May 2021

I got a cold call recently to say the warranty on my washing machine had expired and did I want to renew it. The caller said my name, but I never took out a warranty, so I suspected it was a scam and hung up. The situation has got completely out of hand and I no longer trust any text, e-mail or call from someone I don’t know.

Had a couple of these calls lately, i just go along with it and give fake card details whilst wasting as much time as i can trying to find my card and to repeat everything they say, utter scum and I know many less suspicious people will get duped into this, it is worrying though as they had my name and address so to some it could be quite convincing, they wanted £99.99 for a years cover which is more than our machine is even worth but I did enjoy messing them about.

Ruth says:
8 May 2021

Rhys from KAC rang today at 11.14 am saying my washing machine warranty was due to expire and that I had, asked him to call me back after speaking with him a few weeks ago. I said I didnt remember speaking with him before. He went onto say that it could only have been him as he is the only one on his computer. He said my machine was a bosch when I asked him what he thought it was. He then reeled off lots of other makes it might be when I said it wasn’t. I assured him it was none of these. He asked what make my machine was then which I declined to tell him. He got very angry saying he didnt know why I’d asked him to ring back and put the phone down on me! I blacklisted his number which was 020 3156 1554.
I have also recieved several calls saying I either I owe Amazon money or that £399 is going to to be taken for an order unless I press 1. Also a very authoritarian call saying that my National insurance number was being used fraudulently and I may be arrested if I don’t contact them urgently by pressing 1.

I had one saying my hotpoint washing machine is due for renewal so I told them I don’t even own a washing machine they cut off. because where I live has a washing machine room for everyone to use that caught them short.

I’ve just intercepted a call from Robin at Home Retail Services who had tricked my Mum into signing up for cover for her washing machine and TV when she has full home contents insurance with a main supplier. When I asked to cancel whatever she had signed up, for he adopted a strange evasive, yet placating approach, calling me ‘love’ and tried to say that the minimum contact was 12 months and ‘how about’ I cancel it after that. I told him I was having none of it. I asked for written confirmation of the cancellation and he said there was no need for anything like that. A total scam. I hope that has done the trick.

Sue says:
9 May 2021

I was called last week by ‘Services Home Plan’ to talk about renewing the insurance on my fridge and washing machine. The caller addressed me by name and had my full address. She said they had written to me and had no reply so was following it up with a call. I was immediately suspicious and said I was not aware of having insurance on these goods and suggested it was scam. She was very offended, very persistent but completely polite and I ended up suggesting they send out the details to me by post again. Needless to say I’ve not heard from them. These people can be very convincing but it’s best not to engage with them. Wish I’d just put the phone down!
Sue

Doreen Senior says:
10 May 2021

My favourite scam call was concerning my Visa card. I said “Visa card, I don’t have one – I haven’t even got a passport.” Caller than asked if I had broadband. My response “Broad band? A broad band of what – tape or elastic?” Then I asked scammer how she would feel if someone was trying to steel from her mother or grandmother. Then hung up.

Yes.
And lots of calls pertaining to be from Amazon.
I put the phone down immediately

Joga Fora says:
10 May 2021

I like to chat to these people. I ask them where they live, what the weather is like, do they have a family? Any pets? what are their children /parents occupations? Have they ever visited my part of the world? what do they think about it? Where do they like to go for holidays Etc etc . Also because I’m a bit deaf I always insist they speak up and speak to me veeeerrrrry slowly. (They need frequent reminding). I also ask them if they mind I record the conversation for security and training purposes.

BUT I never give or confirm any information, not age band, address etc, and I NEVER ever let them look at anything on my computer. I’m retired and I have time to have a chat. I reckon that 20-30 minutes on a non productive call for a scammer is 20-30 minutes preventing them from scamming a really vulnerable person.

Sometimes I have been rewarded with a cheery string of swear words before they hang up. 🙂

I have had many cold calls about utility product insurance, particularly my washing machine. They usually state that they are reducing my premium. So I tell them that’s great and to get on with it. They then usually ask for my bank or card details and I tell them that if they already insure my product then they must already have my details and refuse to give them the info they require. They then usually hang up. When I try to call them I either get the BT message that the number I have dialled is not recognised or I get the shushing noise of an open line.
I also get frequent recorded message cold calls purporting to be from Amazon, either telling me that my prime account has been renewed at a ridiculous amount or that an order valued at several hundred pounds has been placed and to press 1 to be connected to an administrator. I ignore all recorder messages like this and just end the call. But these calls are very irritating to say the least and wish something could be done to stop them. Although I am pretty savvy about these things I am scared that one day I may be caught out. I am sure that there are many old people, like me, who are not so well informed and could be very vulnerable. The people who generate these scam calls are the scum of the earth and should be caught and severely punished.

Just had a call asking me to renew warranty on a Hotpoint fridge freezer and washing machine neither of which we have. Caller got quite upset when I suggested it was scam. This is the second call in 2 weeks.

Pawley Tony says:
11 May 2021

Had 2 calls today from 03338810348 saying they are Homeserve domestic appliances insurers £19 per month for all and as many domestic appliances repair or replacement.

Had yet another call from a women telling me that I owed them money because I was entering into the last year of the three year contract I had signed up with them.When I told her I wasn’t paying because I had tried to cancel numerous times already she resorted to strong arm tactics and threatened me with a visit from debt collectors as I was in breach of contract with them if I didn’t pay immediately.Needless to say I just hung up at this point regretting that I had spoken to her for as long as I did.

John Hampshire says:
14 May 2021

Call from 01931603010 said he was Sam from KAC telling me my washing mashing warranty had expired I asked who KAC was he said the manufacturer. I told him I would not be renewing and he rang off. SCAM warning

Tattie Bowker says:
14 May 2021

Female called my landline today using 02082739158 and asked if she was speaking to ‘Mr/Ms enter surname’ (which was correct) although I did not acknowledge this – I asked who was calling.
Female speaks /yaks quickly and gives a lot of info, so it’s hard to interrupt.
My appliances like washing machines were out of warranty & the manufacturers could be any of a long list that she rattled off. My information was provided to them by a third party and she wanted to know if my washing machine was in good working order.
I knew this was a scam, my washer drier is over 15 years old and still going fine. When it starts going wrong, it will most likely be time to buy a new one.
I merely said I did not buy any services from cold callers and they shouldn’t be ringing me either as TPS registered, although the latter does not seem to make any difference.

Over past 2-3 months, I’m getting such a lot of theses scam nuisance calls about problems on my router or a loft extension enquiry I’m made, that I am thinking of requesting my landline to be made that I can make outgoing calls only. So far, they have not got hold of my mobile No & it is easier to block calls to this device

Dr Tony says:
15 May 2021

Just had the call. 01904 213824 is the number that comes up on 1471. They claim to be from ‘Home Care’ in Leeds. The name they asked for was a previous occupant of my house, long since dead, so their info is very old. I pretended to be him, complete with doddery old voice and I managed to keep the caller, an African lady by the sounds of the accent, on the edge of impatience for about 15 minutes. She clearly scented a hit but had no sympathy for scamming an obviously elderly man. When it finally came to the credit card bit I said my son looks after my money and that did it and she hung up. Next time I’ll do the whole trying to find my card and reading the numbers wrong bit and see how long I can make that last. I called the number back and I was going to say I had found my card but I got ‘not recognised’. Can’t they be prosecuted? This is such a horrible thing to do, even worse than hate speech!