Cold callers pressuring OAPS: 92-year-old woman for breakdown cover for dishwasher she did not own

Consumer group, Which?, has warned that cold-calling firms are targeting vulnerable people into buying cover for appliances they don't own.

Cold callers pressuring OAPS: 92-year-old woman for breakdown cover for dishwasher she did not own

Image: Which? has urged people not to buy appliance cover from cold-callers

A 92-year-old grandmother paid thousands of pounds in breakdown cover for a dishwasher she doesn’t own, with consumer group Which? warning that cold-calling firms are targeting vulnerable people.

The group said the callers hope direct debit sums of £10 or £20 will leave victims unnoticed after a survey found people were told by scammers their cover for appliances was expiring, even though they didn’t have a policy.

Which? surveyed more than 1,300 people and found nearly a quarter had received unexpected calls about home appliance insurance and extended warranties within the last year.

The scammers will often hold personal information, making targets believe the calls are genuine, Which? said.

Firms cold-called people, claiming to be offering various services, including cover for blocked drains and loyalty schemes.

Which? has reported its findings to National Trading Standards, which is investigating.

The consumer group said that if a direct debit has been set up without someone’s permission, or they have been duped, they should claim the money back from their bank.

It said most people who had reported incidents to Which? had been refunded, but the process could be time-consuming and difficult.

The 92-year-old has been refunded most of her money and hopes to have it all by the end of the year, Which? said.

It is urging people not to buy from cold callers selling appliance cover or any other type of insurance and should instead purchase cover from regulated firms.

Anyone cold-called about appliance cover could ask for the company name and report it to Information Commissioner’s Office if it is not regulated and someone who is inundated with calls can ask their network provider if it offers any call-blocking services, Which? said.

Gareth Shaw, Which? head of money said: “If you or someone you know has been cold-called about appliance cover, ask for the company name and report it to ICO. If you are being inundated with cold calls, ask your phone network if it offers any call-blocking services.”

He added that Which? wanted to see landline providers including their existing, free-of-charge protections within landline packages by default, adding: “Consumers should not have to opt in to be protected from unwanted cold calls.”

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