As companies are fined by the watchdog, beware of white goods cold callers offering useless insurance policies to the elderly and vulnerable
- Alzheimer’s patient was charged with a dozen policies he didn’t need
- Companies told him he had to cover his white goods on marketing calls
- His sister thinks he handed over up to £5,000 in total
- One of the companies – Home Sure Solutions – has now been fined by the ICO
- Appliances are usually covered by home insurance
This time last year, Julie Broderick discovered her vulnerable older brother had paid thousands of pounds for insurance policies he didn’t need.
More than a dozen companies – some operating from the same addresses – were charging the Alzheimer’s sufferer between £10 and £15 a month to cover household appliances, including his TV and washing machine.
When Julie, 64, looked through her bank statements, she also saw direct debits of £200 and £300. In total, she believes he handed over as much as £5,000.
Malicious Calls: Sellers Target Elderly and Vulnerable Homeowners to Sell Insurance Products or Services for Appliances and Other Appliances
It was more than all his devices were worth. In addition, he also had separate insurance with Sky to cover his television, Sky box and satellite dish, as well as household contents insurance to cover any damage.
Julie’s brother, who is 67 and lives alone, is one of thousands of elderly people targeted by ruthless companies flogging home appliance insurance.
This week, one of the companies that targeted it – Home Sure Solutions Ltd – was fined £100,000 by data watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
It also took action against four other companies for making hundreds of thousands of nuisance calls.
It revealed that sellers were targeting elderly and vulnerable homeowners to sell appliance insurance products or services that most did not need.
An elderly victim was left with just £500 in her account after sending over £7,500 in just over a month.
The ICO claims that Home Sure Solutions, in Hove, East Sussex, made almost 230,000 spam marketing calls during the pandemic between March and September 2020.
He found that another company, UK Platinum Home Care Services, was responsible for 412,000 calls in seven months to homeowners in their 60s and 80s.
Julie, who lives in Yorkshire, says her brother has been bombarded with calls.
His bank, TSB, has since refunded all payments, but Julie fears he will continue to be targeted. She says: “These companies are preying on the vulnerable, which is sickening.”
Damage to household appliances, such as fridges, freezers and washing machines, is usually covered by household contents insurance.
This will not cover mechanical faults, but under consumer rights law you are entitled to a full refund if a fault develops 30 days after purchase.
UK Platinum Home Care Services said it appealed on the grounds that the calls it made were unsolicited.