HomeServe promises to take the hassle out of emergency repairs with its home cover policies, but its suspension of all sales is likely to leave existing customers wondering whether they were mis-sold their policy.
HomeServe announced earlier this week that it has suspended all its sales and marketing activity, after a review by independent analysts Deloitte found some of its sales processes were not up to scratch.
It said it will be re-training its telephone sales staff and developing new scripts – although it is still unclear whether the Financial Services Authority will be launching an investigation into this issue.
Customers complain to Which?
Which? senior researcher Hazel Cottrell comments: ‘Over the last year we’ve been contacted by dozens of members with complaints about HomeServe – including complaints about HomeServe pressuring a member into signing up to a policy and cold calling trying to sell insurance, as well as many disputes over claims.
‘The fact that HomeServe has woken up to the reality of its unhappy customers and is taking swift action to address the problem is positive – although much of the damage may already be done. Our recent research into boiler servicing contracts found that HomeServe customers are some of the least satisfied – so the company has a long way to go to restore faith.’
How to complain about HomeServe
HomeServe said its suspension of sales will not affect its service to existing customers who call up to make a claim or renew their policy. However, some existing customers may now be re-assessing the sales process in which they were sold their policy.
Hazel advises: ‘If you feel you may have been mis-sold a HomeServe contract you should complain to the company directly. It has eight weeks to investigate your complaint fully – and then if you are not satisfied with its response you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service.’
HomeServe has set up a special phone line – 0800 121 6866 – for customers to call if they have any questions about this issue or want to check that they have been sold an appropriate policy.
When we spoke to HomeServe, it told us that it has recordings of all calls made – so it will be able to check whether the sales that took place in specific calls were up to their standards. It added that it will be offering ‘appropriate redress to any customers who have suffered detriment’.
Are boiler servicing contracts good value?
HomeServe offers several insurance policies that cover boilers and heating – with some including an annual boiler service. However, Which? research shows that you’re unlikely to save money if you take out a boiler servicing contract.
This is because the average spent on a service is £75 and you’re unlikely to need repairs. However, we also know that of the third of Which? members who do have boiler cover do so mainly for peace of mind.
To find out which boiler cover Which? members are most satisfied with, and what each of the individual policies cover, see the Which? review of boiler servicing contracts, which includes Homeserve, British Gas Homecare, and Worcester cover.