/ 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 conversation.comments@which.co.uk.

Comments

I had a call today about appliance cover. The number shown is 01209 240239, a number that is recorded as being used for calls about appliance cover. I do not know if it was a marketing call or a scam, but I suspect the latter.

Apart from a call from Domestic & General who had been passed my contact details by a manufacturer when I registered a product, this is the first time a caller has known my current address. I did not confirm my name or address, but it is a sad day to know that my contact details may be being sold to others.

Hi Wavechange. It is possible there has been an unauthorised sharing of your details, but these companies often purchase telemarketing lists with data gained from responses to surveys or competitions etc. But responses to surveys or competitions are not consent from the consumer to be contacted about other services, but of course rogue companies ignore this and also ignore any telephone preference service screening.

Hi Wingman. This is one reason I stopped doing surveys years ago, and I don’t enter competitions. For over five years, callers have been mentioning my old address, from which I transferred my phone number, but today was the first time that a caller mentioned my current address.

Thanks very much for your efforts to help people here.

Hello again Wavechange. It’s certainly interesting that reference has been made to your current address and leaves me curious from where this company obtained your details – if only I could be a fly on the wall.

I’m pleased you recognise these rogue companies and until such time as the Authorities clamp down further and reduce the problem, I hope forums such as this offer some help and support to those affected.

Fortunately I receive very few nuisance calls now, otherwise I would no longer have an active landline. I don’t know why my mobile number is very rarely targeted.

Matthew Nimmo says:
25 November 2021

I received a ‘phonecall, from “Whirlpool”, regarding my washing machine maintenance contract; my suspicions were raised when the number was “withheld” and the contract is with another company. I was told that my contract was about to expire and they needed to confirm my “card details” – very, very suspicious. I gave them a made-up sixteen digit card number, etc. and was told that the number was incorrect. The caller accused me of being untruthful and said that I would be blacklisted by other insurers. AM I bothered? NO.

My elderly neighbour who is registered blind and over 90 years old asked me to phone a Home Appliance Support at 01134874236 as her washing machine had broken down. They said that as the machine was over ten years old she was not covered. They offered a sum of around £24 (out of the £99 she paid. I was very angry and pressed them on this. There was no complaints form nor any official body to complain to they said. Finally the person on the phone said they would go and discuss it with more senior people and they would phone back – she never did. She said to write a letter. I checked the address given in the very poor documentation and read it out to the woman on the phone. However, when I checked on line this organisation had moved addresses and a different one was at the address given in the documentation. After discussion with my neighbour I found out that she was cold called by this company. She has paid about £99 for each of three years. She paid by cheque – I was concerned that the company had a direct debit from her bank. I’ve skim read the documentation but so far have not found a reference to the 10 years – it is all in very small print with masses of ‘get out clauses’. The documentation is in very small print – no key points – is poorly presented and with spelling errors. We don’t feel much will be served by writing a letter but will get in touch with Trading Standards. I have told her never to do any deals on the phone like this again – I just hope it hasn’t shaken her confidence.

Hi Jill – This number is associated with 24×7 Home Appliance Support which is on the Companies House Register. The website was down when you posted but is now active: http://24x7homeappliancesupport.co.uk/index.php

I think you are right to be wary and it would be interesting to know if you can get help from Trading Standards. Best of luck.

Hi Jill. If the appliance being covered falls outside the criteria or Terms & Conditions in order for the Service Agreement to be valid, it’s the responsibility of the company to clarify the age of the appliance before providing cover and accepting payment. It would be unlawful for a company to accept payment for a service and then refuse to provide the service on the basis the age of the appliance does meet the criteria for cover. This is simply outrageous and it’s the companies responsibility to confirm with the consumer the age of the appliance before cover is offered and accepting payment.

Contacting Trading Standards is certainly the right approach. Although you feel it might be fruitless, I would still be inclined to write to the company. If there is no mention of the appliance age in the Terms & Conditions, then refusing to repair the appliance places them in breach of contract and you would be entitled to a full refund.

The law is on your side and unless pressed, rogue companies will avoid issuing refunds. Be persistent, don’t be fobbed off and you should achieve a satisfactory outcome.

My Uncle with dementia was duped by utilities Ltd, appliance care and a few others. They were taking £120 every 3 months under another new name. I investigated the companies and found it was always the same d8rectors who would dissolve a company after 3 months and open a new one. I finally found a phone number and managed to speak to the rudest woman stating they had 24 hours to refund before I went to the police for theft of a bilnerable person, and all monies were paid back and no more calls or money taken. The directors meed criminal charges brought against them

Hi Rebecca. Thank you for sharing your experience and I am delighted you were able to recover the full amount paid.

Your approach demonstrates that taking a firm stance achieves the required outcome. It remains essential that consumers are persistent and refuse to back down. Those who operate rogue companies are cowards, happy to swindle consumers and target the elderly and vulnerable, but when faced with the threat of Police involvement they soon become fearful as they know their actions are unlawful.

It remains essential that consumers continue to report their experiences to Trading Standards, the Police, the ICO and the TPS. In doing so, the Authorities can compile a significant amount of intelligence which assists investigations and hopefully leads to criminal convictions.

A new press release from Which?

“Cold callers swindling vulnerable people out of thousands with direct debit con, Which? reveals” https://press.which.co.uk/whichpressreleases/cold-callers-swindling-vulnerable-people-out-of-thousands-with-direct-debit-con-which-reveals/

This focuses on the the problems associated with appliance cover and the posts on the 29 pages of this Conversation have helped provided Which? with plenty of evidence of the current problems.

Hi Wavechange. Very informative article and I am pleased that Which? continue to monitor the situation and forward their findings to Trading Standards.

The Direct Debit situation is an interesting one and if the Banks establish these rogue companies or their payment processors are abusing the Direct Debit scheme, then someone will find themselves in hot water.

”If a direct debit has been set up without your permission, or you have been duped, you are entitled to claim all your money back from your bank.”.

Should the bank be aware that a direct debit has been set up to a fraudulent account and therefore be liable by their negligence, or is the entitlement effectively a goodwill payment without any liability? While I fully sympathise with people who have fallen for these fraudulent or unnecessary payment demands I am aware that it is not really the banks who recompense them from their own resources, but from their customers’ through reduced savings interest and higher loan and penalty charges. So we customers do have a direct interest in how compensation is dispensed.

Hi Wingman – I see that Which? News now has a related article by Lauren Merryweather, author of this Conversation: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/11/direct-debit-traps-exposed-home-appliance-cover-calls-tricked-my-grandma-out-of-10000/

Which? used to warn us about overpriced appliance insurance back in the 1980s. I’ve even witnessed customers being warned by sales staff about the need to buy cover, making use of misinformation. This pales into insignificance when compared with the scams perpetrated on the vulnerable and those that don’t appreciate that unless you are unlucky it’s better to save up to repair or replace faulty appliances.

It’s an interesting point you raised Malcolm r.

My understanding was that Banks approve and authorise companies for the Direct Debit scheme. Large companies are approved directly and issued a Service User Number, whereas smaller companies can access the scheme via a third party payment processor such as Paypal.

In each case, it is a requirement that any company collecting payments follows the rules of the Direct Debit scheme. Unless the company or payment processor can prove that authorisation was given and that they followed the rules of the Direct Debit Scheme, then the Direct Debit is invalid.

In these circumstances and assuming the companies or payment processors are still trading, then I would assume the Bank can recover all amounts paid from the company or payment processor.

The article confirms my concerns about rogue companies using third party payment processors to access the Direct Debit Scheme. I see this as a further back door for rogue companies to swindle consumers.

If a company cannot gain approval or is refused access to the Direct Debit scheme directly with their bank, then they should not be able to gain approval via a third party payment processor.

It’s an interesting switch in focus to be going after the direct debit monthly model. It doesn’t seem to fit the narrative though. Most rogues open and close within a few months or before they need to file accounts, or so we are told. What happens to the direct debit when the company closes? Surely it can’t still be collected? This would therefore involve setting up new direct debits repeatedly with new companies.

And what third party payment processor in their right mind would be duped more than once by the same Director?

I’m pretty sure 90% or more of the comments on here refer to large payments being taken, mostly by debit or credit card or large one off direct debits.

I can’t see how a company that will only stay open a few months could make ends meet by setting up direct debits for 10 or 20 pounds a month when they know they could go for 200 or 300 on the spot?

These new articles smell a little like a D&G sponsored attack on their rivals who do things properly and charge a monthly payment. I note that once again D&G are referred to as a ‘genuine’ company. That certainly isn’t my experience or the experience of many others online. Their sales tactics via AO are definitely borderline illegal in my opinion.

Thanks Wingman. This is rather like identifying fraudulent bank accounts, isn’t it? How do you decide whether a company applying for a Direct Debit facility is going to act fraudulently, and at what point and on what evidence should the facility be removed?

Hi Reginald Clunes. You raised some very good points.

What I can confirm is many of these smaller rogue companies perform all of their financial transactions using a third-party payment processor. In essence, the payment processor is acting like their bank. Quite often there is not even a requirement for funds in the account to be transferred to a Bank account, funds can be accessed using a Debit Card issued by the payment processor. There is no legal requirement for a registered Limited company to have a dedicated business bank account (yet another ridiculous loophole in the law).

Rogue companies operated by the same Directors or associated individuals will use a single payment processor account for several companies, but of course the payment processors are not aware of this. All the payment processor will see is either Card payment transactions or Direct Debit instructions, but they have no knowledge that one transaction may have been conducted with rogue company ABC and another with rogue company XYZ.

If a company dissolves and ceases to trade, because there is no direct connection between the various companies and the payment processing account, the Direct Debits will continue until a consumer cancels. Think of it as a pyramid, with rogue company ABC at the top holding the payment processing account, but with companies DEF, GHI, JKL and MNO for example all cold calling consumers and obtaining Card or Bank details. All of these transactions are processed through the ABC account. As far as the payment processor is concerned, all transactions come from company ABC, when in fact customer details are being obtained from various other companies in the pyramid.

Customers deserve to be protected from being robbed by exploiting the direct debit scheme. It’s always worth checking accounts for unexpected payments but I now check what direct debits are in place on my account. So far I have never had a problem.

ReginaldClunes wrote: “I note that once again D&G are referred to as a ‘genuine’ company. That certainly isn’t my experience or the experience of many others online. Their sales tactics via AO are definitely borderline illegal in my opinion.” I’m not happy about D&G either and reported them to ICO for making an unsolicited call to me after being passed my phone number (and maybe more) by Beko after clear instructions that I did not want appliance cover.

To my knowledge, Banks will only approve and authorise companies for access to the Direct Debit Scheme who are long established and who meet a set criteria for turnover. Therefore newly formed companies would not me the criteria. It therefore makes no sense that Banks then allow payment processors to accept these companies.

Although a payment processor will be authorised to process Direct Debits, I guess the Banks have no control over what criteria a payment processor uses to approve and authorise a new company. Essentially, the Banks are passing the risk to the payment processor, but of course this does not concern the Banks as many of the payment processors are billion dollar companies (Paypal, Sagepay, Worldpay etc) and the Banks know they can recover their money. It will be left to the payment processors to recover any invalid or fraudulent transactions from the companies they choose to approve.

Wingman

Thanks for the explanation. This sounds like a lack of due diligence and turning a blind eye by payment processors. If an amount is being debited it must have a description eg ‘appliance care’ would appear on a bank statement. There should be a corresponding website and phone number to reach the company on which should be collected by the processors at the time of onboarding and during KYC checks. The website should contain their company number their registered office address and ICO ref. If it later turns out that website and phone number are no longer functioning then the processor should terminate the agreement and hold the funds. The business model you described should not be allowed to be possible. Even without a business bank account, this lands squarely with non existent due diligence as basic anti money laundering checks would mean you’d have to verify the bank account you’re releasing funds to has to match the company name or trading name. Given that payment processors are regulated by the FCA they would be failing in their duties if they’re found to be supporting companies doing this.

ReginaldClunes, your synopsis of the situation is spot on.

The Payment Processing industry is huge, worth billions and is continually growing, with new payment processors emerging regularly. When a Bank declines a company access to the Direct Debit scheme, it becomes a profitable opportunity for the payment processors to approve these companies instead and charge higher fees.

I completely agree that greater due diligence is needed and the approval process should be more stringent. You may recall the case of payment processor Allied Wallet who were fined in the region of £80 million for processing payments for companies who were known to be fraudulent and which led to the company owner having to surrender his California home. This highlights the magnitude of the problem.

There is no doubt that greater approval, verification and anti-money laundering measures are needed, which should include many of the mechanisms you suggested.

Erica Margaret Rixon says:
3 December 2021

today I had a call from Household Appliances the caller Ashley said she worked for the company which insured my washing machine and freezer she said they were changing the way they were dealing with breakdowns because of the pandemic and they were not going to repair but simply replace. she asked for my bank she wanted my card details including the id number on the back. As I became increasingly suspicious she said I could do this online. she tried to put the firm on my payment list but I declined. She said then that she would send me the paperwork out and rang off. BEWARE she was friendly, chatty, and believeable. I am certain I wont receive any paperwork.

Mary Read says:
5 December 2021

I have received several calls at all times of the day and night saying that my last payment was due on maintenance cover for all my kitchen appliances which I do not have . Said l took.out a direct debit for the three years which I hadn’t. They said if I.did not pay straight away it would be breach of contract and they would take me to court . It was from a firm called Cover Appliances Ltd. Most persistent and tomorrow I shall be reporting them to the police .

Hi Mary, thanks for sharing your experiences. This conduct is harassment and intended to bully and frighten consumers.

Threats of Court action is intended to to cause distress and is totally unacceptable conduct.

The individuals making these calls are fuelled by greed and their conduct is fraudulent.

Reporting the matter to the Police, Action Fraud and Trading Standards is the best course of action.

If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service, you should also report this to the ICO.

Mary Read says:
5 December 2021

Thankyou for your reply and I will.contact the police tomorrow .
The telephone numbers he gave were 02081450607 and 02081450103 with a name of
Thomas Wilson .
Luckily my bank were on the ball and declined the payment straight away but he is supposed to be ringing me on Monday to see if I have authorised the payment with the bank .

Hi Mary. It is common for callers from rogue companies to use an alias and the name ‘Thomas Wilson’ is used regularly for these types of scams. Using an alias is a further tactic to avoid detection.

Number spoofing is also common, whereby the caller changes their calling number ID to disguise their actual number, which can make it difficult to determine the true origin of the call.

You mentioned in your previous post you do not have a service agreement with this company and yet your Bank declined the payment. Are you suggesting this company had your bank details even though you had not provided them with this information?

If this company has obtained your bank details without your knowledge, I would expect the Police to act promptly. Furthermore, attempting to collect payment from your account without your authority would be in breach of scheme rules and fraudulent. If you have not provided your bank details to this company and they have attempted to collect payment without your authority, I would be inclined to contact your Bank again, advise them this is not a simple administrative error and insist they investigate further.

Given the circumstances, I would also instruct your Bank to contact you directly before processing any further new Direct Debit instructions from any organisation.

Shepherd says:
9 December 2021

I have just had one of these cold calls

It was far more persuasive than the usual sort of Amazon Prime scam – partly because it was from an identifiable UK phone number (0161 676 1947) and the two men had very English accents

The story was roughly the same about need to renew an existing three year washing machine policy but this time with a discount!

He then started to request bank debit card details

When I said I was not going to pass on bank details over the phone I was passed to a ‘superviser’ who got quite cross before he hung up

Is this something that should be reported to the police or trading standards dapartment?

As the phone number must be traceable….

Or are they already aware of it and not able to do anything?

Hi Shepherd. Thanks for sharing your experience.

It remains essential that consumers report all calls of this nature to the Police and Trading Standards. Reports should be made online to Action Fraud and Trading Standards through Citizens Advice consumer help.

Reports from consumers allow both Action Fraud and Trading Standards to gather vital intelligence about rogue companies and in turn take appropriate action.

The Authorities have investigated and taken action against numerous rogue companies thanks to reports from consumers and I would encourage you to report the matter.

Additionally, if your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service, you should also report the calling number to Information Commissioners Office (ICO) and the TPS, which you can do online relatively quickly.

L Annie Spencer says:
13 December 2021

I have been pestered by a very aggressive caller who told me it was time to renew my home appliances cover. When I told her I was covered by British Gas she cut into what I was saying and said “Yes that’s us.” I told her that British Gas email or send letters but only phone when their engineers are running late. She was yelling loudly and talking too fast. I told her no British Gas agent would be so aggressive and she finally put down the phone.

Hi L Annie Spencer, do you have a record of the caller’s number and did the caller provide a company name?

I’m reeling from the recent death of my father. A widower, he died this month. He lived 300 miles from me and lockdown made it worse of course. But I was struck when I used to go and stay with him by how many scam calls he got. It was only when he had to go into hospital earlier this year and I offered to look at his paperwork that I realised how many scam insurance policies he had, for ancient appliances and IT. I tried to cancel and reclaim from companies, but most had ceased to exist. In addition, he’d been scammed out of £10,000 by a fake bank fraud during the 2020 lockdown and his bank, Lloyds, only repaid half because they said he didn’t take enough care. His estate was small but any inheritance will benefit my sister who is not well off. I honestly don’t know if it’s worth trying to go back through – looking at his bank accounts, charges £100-200 to different companies per month are common: I’ve only gone back 3 years but they mount up. These are mostly card payments rather than direct debits. He was very ashamed of being scammed and it makes it very hard to see the full extent of how these people were able to steal from him this way.

Hi K Carter. I’m sorry to hear of your fathers passing and it must be terribly upsetting to discover he was victimized by various rogue companies.

Regarding payments made for household appliance warranties or service contracts, if you are able to identify any of the companies shown on the Bank statements, I would strongly advise you contact each of them and ask they provide a copy of the warranty or service agreement. (Assuming these companies are still trading). The sole objective of these rogue appliance warranty companies is to obtain a consumers Card details fraudulently (often by misrepresenting who they are) and they do not keep records or send agreements to customers by post (this is to hide their real identity and avoid detection). Any company that has debited funds from your Fathers account must keep a record of the transaction and be able to provide details of the transaction. If they are unable to provide details at your request, this leaves them in hot water and puts you in a strong position to recover amounts paid.

Contact the companies and ask them to send copies of the warranties/service contracts, to include details of the appliances covered, the cost and term of the agreement. The documentation should include the makes and model numbers of all appliances. Only provide them with your Fathers name, address and the date of the transaction. Avoid giving any details about the appliances or the amount paid.

If the companies refuse or agree to send the required information and you don’t receive anything, contact them again. Rogue companies will always attempt to frustrate and exhaust consumers, in the hope the customer abandons their attempt to obtain a refund. Rogue companies dislike determined customers, so remain persistent as the law is on your side. If the companies do not provide the required information, you will be in a strong position to recover the amounts paid and a warning of legal action will usually encourage them to issue refunds without further delay.

If however these companies are able to provide copies of the required documentation, with accurate details of what the warranty or service agreement was for, then it will be difficult to challenge unless you have evidence that foul play occurred.

Lastly, Card payment transactions are often set up as a ‘continuous payment authority’, which means the companies are able to take further payments for any amount and at any time. Rogue companies will often specify the amount to be paid to the consumer, collect that amount, but then collect further amounts at a later date without the consumers authorisation. If you discover repeat payments to the same companies, it is possible the continuous payment authority has been abused. This being the case, you will be in a strong position to challenge the companies and demand any additional amounts paid are refunded. I would also advise that any payment Cards registered to your Fathers accounts are immediately cancelled if you have not already done so.

If you do discover irregular payment activity on your Fathers account and are able to identify the companies collecting the payments, I would also advise reporting this to Trading Standards, Action Fraud and the Police if you feel it’s appropriate.

Dear Wingman, thank you so much for your very detailed and kind response.

I will definitely go through the most recent payments – I did find when I tried to cancel a lot of ongoing payments earlier in the year that the scammiest companies had no way to contact them, or emails bounced back, but I will look again.

Really appreciate your help and compassion.
Kx

Jacquie says:
17 December 2021

O was cold called by someone claiming. To be from Appliancecare 247 for the second time on 9 December and verbally agreed to take out insurance using direct debit. Was only persuaded when the caller was able to tell me the machine brand and the purchase was made at John Lewis and even knew my John Lewis password. I gave my account details to the caller. No action has so far been to take money from my account but when I contacted my bank they said the were unable to do anything as no fraud has yet been committed. I am aged 84 and recently widowed so feel very vulnerable and worried but seem unable to do anything to prevent A fraud being perpetrated.
Jackie Liverpool.
A

Hi Jackie. Rogue companies would not typically know the make of appliances, where they were purchased from or passwords so it’s concerning to hear they knew this information.

However, rogue companies will often call consumers months before, posing as market researchers, with questions such as what brand of washing machine they own and where they normally purchase appliances. This information is then used at a later date to convince consumers they are legitimate, gain confidence and ultimately obtain bank or payment card details. Do you recall any previous market research calls asking about home appliances whereby you might have divulged any information?

Companies intending to collect funds by Direct Debit must comply with the protocols of the Direct Debit scheme, one of which is to advise customers in advance and in writing of the arranged Direct Debit payments. This allows customers who change their mind the opportunity to cancel before any funds are debited. Rogue companies will avoid sending any documents, but if you do receive any correspondence, contact the company and advise them you wish to cancel and keep a note of the time and date you called. Then contact your Bank, explain you have received a Direct Debit notification from the company and instruct your Bank to cancel the Direct Debit.

Daniel says:
20 December 2021

We’ve twice had a call like this at our home. Mum answered they knew her name and an appliance she had. When she called Domestic and General they said they don’t call people and instead send letters when cover is up for renewal.

Daniel says:
20 December 2021

We’ve had this call twice on our landline. My Mum answered it and they knew her name and an appliance she owns. She said she didn’t know anything about insurance and hung up. We called Domestic and General and they said they don’t call when renewal is up they send a letter.

Hi Daniel. I’m pleased your Mum was not fooled by the caller and hanging up was the right thing to do. If your Mum uses a call blocking device then you should certainly blacklist the numbers, but rogue companies often use number spoofing, whereby the incoming callers number is randomly changed to avoid detection, so it is possible you may receive further calls.

It’s essential that consumers report calls of this nature to the Authorities as it helps the authorities to investigate and take action. If you have a record of the calling number/s you can report this to the ICO. If your Mum’s telephone number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service, you should also report this to the TPS. Reports can be made online to both organisations relatively quickly, links to both can be found on previous posts.

Just had a call on my landline from 01315690006, a woman with an Indian accent and a British name who claimed to be from a company called Domestic Insurance. I knew it was a scam as soon as she told me her name, but I played along. She had my name and address and told me my insurance policy was due for renewal which covered my washing machine, fridge-freezer and cooker, and she could renew for a cheaper price as I hadn’t made a claim – £395 for 2 years’ cover instead of £495. I asked for some details about the policy because I didn’t remember taking it out, she gave me a made-up policy number and said I had paid £495 two years ago by direct debit. When I told her I don’t even have a fridge-freezer she said I could cover my microwave instead. When I asked which bank account I had paid from she told me she couldn’t tell me as that information was personal… and then transferred me to a colleague of hers who went through the same speech but said it was a microwave that was covered, a fridge freezer was not mentioned in my policy, and that I had paid with a one-off payment not direct debit. I again questioned the conflicting details and she said she would investigate and call me back. I hope she does as I would like another opportunity to waste more of their time!

K Moore says:
3 January 2022

I just had a call from same number and similar experience, caller was very aggressive, when I asked to be removed from calling list, he angrily said why in the world would he do that when they were my actual insurance provider

Marilyn says:
22 December 2021

I have recently started getting calls, the latest from 03301 650304, offering me breakdown insurance on my washing machine. This is laughable as the machine is over 20 years old! During the latest call, earlier this week I mentioned that indeed my machine had broken down, but my husband had been able to buy a part for under £10 and repaired it himself, so why would I be interested in throwing away my hard-earned money to dishonest people. He hung up on me, just as it was getting interesting!!

I had a call today claiming to be from Domestic Insurance. They called from 0131 569 0006 at 12.07pm. Said our manufacturers insurance for the washing machine, fridge and cooker were due for renewal. No info was given by me but they did know my name!

This 0131 number appears to be very active at present with numerous posts and complaints from consumers all following a similar pattern.

It’s essential that consumers report calls of this nature. It only requires a small number of reports from consumers for the Authorities to investigate and take action. If you have not already done so, I would strongly recommend you report the number to the ICO and the Telephone Preference Service (assuming you are registered with the TPS), which you can do online relatively quickly. Links for both can be found on previous posts.

ROGER CHMURA says:
29 December 2021

Had one today 01315690006, very pushy and tried their best to say they were coshere; it’s when they wanted me to pay by card when I already pay by DD for the discount that I knew it was definitely a scam and I hung up. So if you are ever cold called do the same … hang up and don’t give them any information

Yes I had a call from the same number today 01315690006, telling me that my policy with “Domestic Insurance Company” was up for renewal. He said that I’d currently got my washing machine and fridge on it and I set this up in 2018. This seemed odd to me as I had my kitchen re-done about 5 years ago and I can’t see why I’d only have insured those 2 appliances. He was very pleasant though was laughing that I couldn’t remember having the policy… He also told me that giving him my bank account details wasn’t sensitive information, but I didn’t, and I hung up. He then called back a number of times but I didn’t pick up. The last call from from a different number 01273977419 but I think this was him again.
I seem to get a lot of calls about domestic appliance insurance, but others have been more obviously calling from overseas call centres.

Hi Karen. Thanks for sharing your experience. The 0131 number appears to be very active at present with numerous posts and complaints from consumers all following a similar pattern. I’m pleased you were suspicious and hung up, as this is the best course of action.

It’s well documented that a large number of companies making these unsolicited calls are located on the South coast in the Brighton & Hove area, so it is quite likely the call you received from the 01273 number (Brighton area code), was the same caller. These companies are relentless and it is essential that consumers report calls of this nature. It only requires a small number of reports from consumers for the Authorities to investigate and take action.

If you have not already done so, I would strongly recommend you report both numbers to the ICO and the Telephone Preference Service (assuming you are registered with the TPS). Links for both can be found on previous posts.

Kath King says:
5 January 2022

My mum is currently in hospital and I am staying at her house until she comes out. I have spent several years trying to train her to ignore scam calls since finding that she was handing over her bank details to numerous insurance companies. Interestingly, I received another one this morning from 01315690006. I spoke to someone, told them I was her daughter and the scammer said exactly what was outlined in the above article, that she is currently covered and simply needs to renew. She has no such policy and I asked them never to ring her again. Of course they will and there is nothing I can do about it except keep a close eye on her bank account (I have POA) It is shameful that the elderly are targeted in this way!

I suggest you contact the bank and if possible go into the branch. They should be able to block future payments. Obviously it is important to make exceptions for any future payments that are legitimate but the bank will be able to advise. Best of luck, Kath.

Hi Kath. Sorry to hear your Mother is receiving calls of this nature. The most appropriate action you can take is to report the number. The Authorities will investigate and take action, even if only a small number of reports are made.

You should report the number to the ICO and if your Mothers number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service, you should also report this to the TPS. Reports can be made online to both organisations relatively quickly, links to both can be found on previous posts.

Something else you might be able to do and which would screen out such calls is to set up a selective call-blocking or interception system on your mother’s phone. A new programmable handset might be required but any extra expense would soon be justified.

All callers your mother wishes to allow without interception can still get through directly and any new contacts can easily be set up.

Your mother’s telecom service provider [e.g. BT, Sky, TalkTalk] can help with advice but is likely to recommend only their own products; alternative handsets are widely available on-line or in retail stores and have a range of functions.

Gordon McNeill says:
6 January 2022

Got a call from 0131 569 0027 (Domestic Insurance) about renewal of a policy covering my washing machine, tumble dryer and dish washer under policy number IP17. When I told the caller I did not recall having a policy with Domestic Insurance she said she would send through my paperwork then she hung up abruptly.

Hi Gordon. It’s concerning to see a large number of posts from consumers relating to the same 0131 number and other 0131 numbers. But this is often the modus operandi of rogue companies who will make tens of thousands of calls over a short period, obtain money fraudulently and then cease to use the number once online forums are bursting with complaints from consumers.

These rogue companies will often cease trading before the Authorities have the opportunity to investigate and take action, and therefore it remains essential that consumers report the calling number immediately so the Authorities can act quickly.

If you have not already done so, you should report the number to the ICO and if you are registered with the Telephone Preference Service, you should also report this to the TPS. Reports can be made online to both organisations relatively quickly, links to both can be found on previous posts.

Kathryn Dyke says:
9 January 2022

I had a call from 01342 398040 saying the renewal was due on my washing machine, I said my washing machine was very old and was not insured. He then tried to tell me it had a manufacturers warranty of 10 years which had just ran out and if I took out insurance for £75 I could get a brand new machine when my old one broke down! When I said I wasn’t interested he wanted to know why in the end I put the phone down!