Home appliance insurance scams are on the rise, which ones? warns
New research has revealed that cold calling exploits vulnerable people by mis-selling compliance coverage.
Who? has found that some victims of these scams have been charged thousands of pounds to insure devices they don’t even own through expensive direct debits.
The survey of more than 1,300 who? Members noted that nearly a quarter have received unexpected calls about home appliance insurance or extended warranties in the past year.
The consumer group heard reports that callers were lying to victims, telling them their existing coverage was expiring even though they didn’t have a policy, or were calling claiming to be another well-known company. Callers typically have access to personal information that makes their targets believe calls are genuine.
They work by selling under pressure invisible and easily forgotten products that require regular monthly invoicing. Then they sit down and hope that the Â£ 10 or 20 that leaves their victim’s account month after month will not be noticed.
If a direct debit has been set up without your authorization, or if you have been duped, you have the right to claim all of your money from your bank. Most of the people who reported this to whom? were refunded, but it can be time consuming and tedious, the platform said.
A 92-year-old grandmother has paid Â£ 10,000 ($ 13,300) over a two-year period to several companies claiming to provide breakdown cover for her washing machine and boiler – as well as a dishwasher she she does not have.
Despite having a call blocking service with her phone operator, it turned out that she had been harassed by cold calls telling her that she had to renew various policies that she was did not have. Believing their lies, she had repeatedly given out her bank details.
Her granddaughter shared details of 25 companies that either billed her grandmother monthly or repeatedly harassed her with annoying calls. They claimed to offer all kinds of services, including coverage for blocked pipes and loyalty programs.
Thanks to the direct debit rules and the intervention of her granddaughter, she has been reimbursed for most of her money and hopes to have it all by the end of the year.
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The company’s websites use designs that are strikingly similar, and many companies are based or related to Bournemouth and Poole. Callers tend to use one business name on the phone, while another appears on bank statements. It is therefore impossible to know who is calling.
Who? reported its findings to National Trading Standards, which is investigating these companies.
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