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Legal Advice: Cold-calling company called out

An elderly woman discusses her appliance insurance bill with her daughter

A Which? Legal member got in touch when a relative unknowingly took out appliance cover. Here’s how we helped him get a refund.

Earlier this year, Which? Legal member Paul contacted Which? Legal with concerns that his elderly father-in-law, who has a history of dementia and cognitive impairmnet, had taken out appliance cover unwittingly.

Paul discovered his father-in-law had received a cold call from appliance company It’s OK Ltd, which led him to signing up to a service plan on a 19-year-old washing machine that was no longer used.

On opening correspondence from It’s OK, Paul–who has joint Power of Attorney over his father-in-law’s health and financial decisions with his wife–queried the service plan but found his father-in-law had no memory of any contact with the company.

Paul contacted It’s OK to cancel the contract and was told its cancellation team would be in touch, but he had to chase the firm several times before it confirmed a full refund had been sent out.

A month on from cancelling, Paul contacted Which? Legal for advice.

The Law

As the contract was entered into at a distance (in this case, over the phone), and cancelled less than 14 days from when it started, the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 meant Paul’s father-in-law could get a refund.

Under the legislation, It’s OK could have requested payment for the days the service was active prior to the cancellation during the cooling off-period. But, given Paul’s father-in-law didn’t have the mental capacity to enter the contract, it was likely that a full refund would have been given.

Our advice

We recommended Paul set out his legal position to It’s OK and request a refund be provided as a matter of urgency.

On doing so, Paul was contacted by It’s OK the next day to arrange a full refund of £194.40.

It’s OK did not respond to our request for a comment.

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Comments

It is disgraceful that vulnerable people are being targeted, so thanks to Lauren and colleagues for this Conversation.

The murky world of appliance cover has been discussed in another Conversation: https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/home-appliance-insurance-cold-call-scams/

Last year I was cold called by Domestic & General after registering a freezer with Beko, the manufacturer. Beko had passed my phone number to D&G. I discussed this case with the ICO and complained to D&G because I am registered with the Telephone Preference Service.

These sales tactics are disgraceful.

I remember taking BT to task a decade or more ago when I went to visit my mother-in-law to find a BT modem – still boxed – had been delivered – a salesman had called offering her broadband at a bargain price…. She didn’t then and never did have in her life a computer or any connected device. Don’t these b***rds do any background checks?

Edited to add that I got her added to a “do not telesales” contact list – and credit where it was due they didn’t try it on again.