/ 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 my whirlpool washing machine. They had already called this morning which I missed. They said the manufacturer warranty was up for renewal but it wasn’t until he started going on about renewing it and covering call outs etc I remembered I don’t have a whirlpool machine lol.
I wouldn’t pay for that anyway its cheaper to buy a new machine nowadays. The number was 01342 398040.

The same number appears in the last post on the previous page of this Conversation, Charlotte. The call can be reported as contributor ‘Wingman’ has mentioned in these discussions.

Unless you are unlucky, appliance cover is not worthwhile. It’s worth looking at the cost of repair before buying a new machine.

Lorraine Willis says:
22 February 2022

Just had a phone call from 01382752021 saying they were from Homecare domestic insurance, bla bla bla & my insurance was up for renewal for £200.00. When I said I didn’t have it she said oh yes you’ve had it for 2 years so I told her I’d that was the case it was a fraudulent transaction & I was phoning the police. She hung up!

Hi Lorraine, the telephone number you posted is extremely active at the moment and calls from this number are causing a great deal of distress and anxiety for many consumers.

I am pleased you were not fooled by the caller and realised it was a scam. It is however important that calls of this nature are reported to the Authorities and in doing so it may prevent others from being scammed.

If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to report the calling number to the ICO. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service you should also report this to the TPS. Reports from consumers allow the Authorities to gather vital intelligence, investigate and take action against these rogue callers. Reports can be submitted online and it’s relatively quick to do so.

Call today from “Homecare” regarding our domestic appliance cover. When asked which appliances, she said “dishwasher and fridge-freezer”. When I said this was nonsense and said never to call me again she hung up.

Calling number: 02045711727

Hi andrewwyss, thanks ever so much for sharing the callers number. I am pleased you were not fooled by the call.

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. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service you should also report this to the TPS. It’s relatively quick to submit reports online and will assist the Authorities to investigate and take action, which in turn may prevent others from being scammed. Links for both the ICO and TPS can be found on previous posts.

By the way, I emailed scamwatch@which.co.uk as suggested at the end of the article and got the reply “Thank you for contacting Which?. This email address is no longer regularly monitored.”

That email is still ok @andrewwyss: the autoresponse is up as a flag that you may not get an immediate response from our scams team. If you’re looking to simply report a scam, the best option is actually the Scam Sharer tool.

Steve says:
17 January 2022

I’ve had 02045711727 ring me around 10 times in recent weeks, including this morning at 8:17am.

They claim to be/pose as Homeserve, who I believe are a legitimate home emergency insurance company. Usually scammers are calling from Calcutta, but this phone number resolves to London.

I’m on the edited electoral register and am ex-directory, but this was originally a family home and the last record the scammers have when accessing the electoral register at 192.com and on Info disks is for my elderly father. Out of this I get a lot of scam calls.

He died 11 years ago, which they won’t know, and he would be over 100 years old now if alive, so they must see him as a lone occupant and easy prey, and they often ask for him by name.

Hi Steve. Thanks for sharing the callers number.

Targeting the elderly is a common tactic of these rogue companies and they will ignore requests not to call again. Number spoofing is often used to avoid detection, so it can be difficult to determine the true identity of the caller.

However, the Authorities are taking action against these rogue companies thanks to reports from consumers and it remains essential that consumers continue to report calls of this nature. Just a small number of reports will prompt 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. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service you should also report this to the TPS. It’s relatively quick to submit reports online and action by the Authorities may prevent others from being scammed. Links for both the ICO and TPS can be found on previous posts.

Lansdowne says:
30 January 2022

I have had calls (that I didn’t answer) where 1471 reports a number starting 020 45…. Is this a valid telephone number? It should always be remembered that scam callers can easily use equipment that disguises the number or even the country they are calling from.

LINDA LAWRENCE says:
20 January 2022

This morning at 8.22 I was called by a lay who said she was from HomeServe. She spoke about a one off offer to renew my cover for my fridge freezer, washing machine and cooker. I have no cover with Homeserve and have not got a fridge freezer. Shame on these people

stephen svejnoha says:
24 January 2022

Called today at 12-23pm. about my washer. Said he was “Domestic Insurance.” I told him to ring back later. I was stalling while i checked it out. Told me he was ringing from Brighton. I checked the phone area code, it was actually Birmingham. Number was 01212258713.

Received a call from 0121 225 8713 today. The caller wanted me to confirm my name. I ignored his request and asked for details of who he was and what he wanted. After repeated attempts he said his name was Sam Simon and he was an agent of Domestic Appliances and was based in Brighton. He said the call was to do with domestic appliances insurance and started rattling off appliances I was supposed to have. I requested more information of the company as I believed the call was a cold call. He assured me it was not a sales call but then said he could offer a discount on insurance. I reiterated that I believed the call was a cold call. Call ended.

DonM says:
26 January 2022

I got a call today, can’t remember the company name, tel 0208 919 7810. The guy told me the insurance on my washing machine was due to expire. As I’ve never had a insurance for it I knew this was a scam, especially when he said it was taken out by my son, who hasn’t lived at home for a decade! When I accused him of trying a scam, he hung up. Strangely, I had just cancelled a policy for my 89 year old mother-in-law’s washing machine with Britannic – the machine still has 5 months’ guarantee left. When I asked Britannic how they had got her details, the very helpful lady at Britannic explained that they use a calling company to chase up renewals. I think the insurance policy may have been genuine, but I the calling company are using fraudulent methods to set up the insurance, and are making money from commission.

John Reed says:
31 January 2022

I got a call this morning from someone who knew my surname and wanted to talk about ‘my’ washing machine cover. I said that I didn’t have a washing machine (not true) and he rang off.

Roger says:
31 January 2022

we just had a call from 0208 575 4752 saying our washing machine insurance has expired and would we like to renew, first of all at £11 per month, which rapidly reduced to £7.50. He said the company was Service Plan. We don’t take out separate insurance on appliances and when challenged he incorrectly said we owned a Whirlpool appliance, which we don’t.

Hi Roger, thanks for sharing details of the call.

Over the last 12 months the Authorities have taken significant steps to tackle rogue companies, which is partly due to reports from consumers. It remains essential that consumers report calls of this nature. Just a small number of reports will prompt 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. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service you should also report this to the TPS. It’s relatively quick to submit reports online and action by the Authorities may prevent others from being scammed. Links for both the ICO and TPS can be found on previous posts.

Terry says:
3 February 2022

My aunt who is 86 and had dementia has been called by these parasites a number of times.
I have told her not to engage with anyone who calls and to give them my number.
They called me last night saying that my aunt owed money on an old contract. I gave them short shrift, and told them never to call my aunt again.
Two minutes later they called her demanding money again. Luckily my sister had just arrived and again got rid of them.
Surely something can be done about this company and its practice of targeting elderly and vulnerable people. ( the number started 02045)

Hi Terry, sorry to hear your Aunt is receiving persistent calls of this nature. These rogue domestic appliance insurance and service cover companies can be relentless and its quite shocking they called your Aunt again after you told them not to call again.

The best way to prevent this is by reporting the callers number to the Authorities. If you have not already done so, I would strongly recommend you report the number to the ICO. If your Aunt’s number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service you should also report this to the TPS. It’s relatively quick to submit reports online and action by the Authorities may prevent others from being scammed. Links for both the ICO and TPS can be found on previous posts.

It only requires a small number of reports for the Authorities to investigate and take action.

Dawn Sharahi says:
3 February 2022

I have had so many calls from home serve I have disconnected my phone. Starts at 7am sometimes 6 or 7 times a day. They leave messages on my answerphone too. Beyond annoying

Hi Dawn. Sorry to hear you are receiving sustained calls from this company.

The best way to prevent this is by reporting the callers number to the Authorities. If you have not already done so, I would strongly recommend you report the number to the ICO. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service you should also report this to the TPS. It’s relatively quick to submit reports online and it only requires a small number of reports for the Authorities to investigate and take action.

Links for both the ICO and TPS can be found on previous posts.

Maggie Wynton says:
7 February 2022

I’ve just been phoned by a caller purporting to be from Domestic Appliances telling me that my appliances were due for renewal He was unable to tell me which appliances this was for & rattled off a general list. He was both so persistent & I distant. It was quite an intimidating experience. I just ended the call.

Hi Maggie. Thanks for sharing your experience and sorry to hear you felt intimidated by the call. You did the right thing by ending the call.

These rogue callers use a variety of tactics to obtain money fraudulently, such as convincing consumers they are under obligation to renew a policy which doesn’t exist or threats of a debt collection agency if they fail to pay. Their sole objective is to obtain Bank or Card details in order to obtain money fraudulently and they will use whatever methods necessary to achieve this. These are abhorrent individuals who are breaking the law and the only way to tackle calls of this nature is by reporting the calling number to the Authorities.

As highlighted in previous posts, if you have a record of the calling number, I would encourage you to report this to the ICO. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service you should also report this to the TPS.

Joanne stibbard Kinsey says:
8 February 2022

My father was contacted tonight regarding getting a refund on his white goods insurance – he called over 4 times and the man was aggressive when we put the phone down – he gave the telephone number 02045185504 – from RBA Homecare Solutions – he said he just wanted to get some details from my father

Hi Joanne. Sorry to hear your Father has been contacted by what sounds to be a rogue caller.

Assuming they provided the correct company name, the company was only incorporated in January 2021 and therefore have a relatively short trading history. The usual tactic of rogue companies offering household appliance service plans is to convince consumers they have a policy which is due for renewal, often suggesting they are the current provider or acting on behalf of the current provider. Their sole objective is to obtain Bank or Card details using misrepresentation which is an act of fraud.

The offer of a refund would suggest this is the latest tactic to obtain Bank or Card details. Many consumers that have home appliance service plans or extended warranties might be fooled into thinking the offer of a refund is genuine and no doubt the caller will ask for the Bank or Card details to process the refund. But of course, the payment information provided will be used to obtain money instead of a refund being issued.

The only way to tackle these rogue companies is by reporting the calling number to the Authorities. It only requires a small number of reports for the Authorities to investigate and take action.

I would encourage you to report the calling number to the ICO. If your Father’s number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service you should also report this to the TPS. It’s relatively quick to submit reports online and in doing so it will assist the Authorities to take action and may prevent others from being scammed.

David Brooke says:
11 February 2022

I had a call today from a number 01619610029. They seemed to think I had a lapsed insurance on a cooker and washing machine. I’m afraid I didn’t catch the name of the insurance company they claimed to represent. They wanted to know if I’d like to renew at a discount as I had made no claims.
I wasn’t aware that I had any insurance on these items. It’s very odd that they waited for the insurance to actually lapse before contacting me, and I’ve had nothing in the post. I have no record of any policy on these items. I just told them to cancel. I tried phoning the number of the incoming call (I probably shouldn’t have done). It seems to be an outfit called “Personal Recruitment Outsourcing”. Seems very odd!

Hi David. Thank you for sharing your experience.

In order to avoid UK Legislation, many rogue companies operate call centres from overseas or will employ third party call centres for their cold calling operations. This is an intentional act to side step UK laws and avoid prosecution. Although the call may appear to originate from a UK number, the calls are being made from overseas call centres and number spoofing is used to fool consumers.

I have encountered a Moroccan based call centre with a similar name to that you discovered when calling the number.

Regardless of whether the call originated from the UK or overseas, I would encourage you to report the calling number to the ICO. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service you should also report this to the TPS.

The only way to tackle these rogue companies is by reporting the calling number to the Authorities. Reports from consumers assists the Authorities to gather vital intelligence, investigate and where possible take action.

Reports can be submitted online relatively quickly, links for both can be found on previous posts.

Mrs Saunter says:
11 February 2022

Unfortunately I am with Domestic and General and used to often get calls from this Company regarding their product insurance. It is disconcerting when the scammers know your name as well. They do the usual spiel about adding a new appliance for a very little more and then at the end of the conversation just ask if you would mind repeating the bank card you are currently using for the policy. They are very plausible and good at what they do. Could easily see how someone could get taken in especially if you are a customer.

Adrian Susman says:
15 February 2022

Just had the same call claiming to be from ‘Domestic Serve’ wanting to renew the warranty on my washing machine for £6.99 a month. Actually sounded quite legitimate but just didn’t feel right. Glad I checked this out now. They’re calling back sometime to talk to my wife. Can’t wait.

Hi Adrian, the most effective way to tackle these rogue companies is to report the calling number to the Authorities.

You can of course string them along first and waste their time if they call back, but when they realise they have been rumbled, be prepared for some colourful language. When challenged, it is common for these rogue callers to become rude, aggressive and threatening, so you might want to keep a set of ear defenders at hand.

If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to report the calling number to the ICO. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service you should also report this to the TPS. It’s relatively quick to submit reports online and in doing so it will assist the Authorities to investigate and take action.

peter says:
19 February 2022

we continually receive calls about appliance insurance related to an address we moved from 4 years ago (we kept the same phone no). the latest was from 01382752021.

Hi Peter, the most effective way to tackle these rogue companies and stop calls of this nature is to report the calling number to the Authorities.

If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to report the calling number to the ICO. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service you should also report this to the TPS. It’s relatively quick to submit reports online and in doing so it will assist the Authorities to investigate and take action.

Had a cold call today from a man with an East European accent. He said he was from the company “Domestic Appliances” when I asked. He said Hotpoint had given him my details and it was time to renew Appliance insurance.
He did say that Hotpoint now own all familiar brands including Bosch. I could google that he said. I did and Hotpoint does not own Bosch!

I asked him the address of the company. He asked why. I said because reputable companies in the UK usually have a postal address. He offered a postcode. I persisted and asked for the address again and he hung up.

The day before this call I had two scam attempts – offering to lower premiums on life insurance. One said he was from Insurance Tare (?). Again I asked for addresses. One gave a postcode. I asked where that was knowing full well it was South Woodford. He said he had just moved to the UK from South Africa and was still learning about place names. I said when I go anywhere I generally know what town I am in. He said he did not know where he was in the UK. I suggested London and he agreed.

So I asked him how come his phone number was showing up as Southport? I said this looked as dodgy as hell and I would not be proceeding.

Is it not time the Government did something about these calls? Instead of denying that Fraud should be in the crime statistics? The sheer volume of them is extremely intrusive.

Yes I can take steps like turning on Call Guardian etc., but that often means hidden callers like Hospital or GP cannot reach me.

Hi Mark, sorry to hear you are experiencing calls of this nature.

Rogue companies offering warranties or service plans for home appliances use a variety of tactics to convince consumers they are genuine. Often using similar names to reputable companies, suggesting they are acting on behalf of Manufacturers or fooling customers into thinking they are the current provider of a warranty the customer has. Their sole objective is to obtain Bank or card details using misrepresentation which is an act of fraud.

The Government is taking steps to tackle these rogue companies which has resulted in prosecutions, fines and criminal charges. It remains essential that consumers report calls of this nature to the Authorities. Reports from consumers will prompt the Authorities to investigate and take action.

If you have a record of the calling numbers and have not already done so, I would encourage you to report the calling numbers to the ICO. If your number is registered with the Telephone Preference Service you should also report this to the TPS. Reports can be submitted online and it’s relatively quick to do so.

@Which? Could you consider updating this topic, with the emphasis that consumers should report calls of this nature to the ICO and TPS, with links provided.

There has been an increase in calls to consumers from specific numbers lately, but the ICO can only investigate and take action if they receive reports from consumers. The ICO have been quite effective recently and I would like to see @Which? advising consumers to report calls of this nature.