Do you have an issue you need to put right? Which? is here to help get your consumer problems sorted.
I'm a carer for a vulnerable person and I've recently been helping them with their paperwork. I've noticed that he had a large number of insurance policies for appliances, some of which are overlapping.
I found the policies have been set up following numerous cold calls, which are targeting the person I care for.
There are several policies with a company called 'My Smart Cover', all worth £180 to renew. One is for 'freezer cover' and another for 'TV cover' - both have the same wording. I decided to call them and cancel the policy. When I did I was treated badly and told it would be £150 to cancel the policies.
I'm tempted to pay for renewal to keep them away for a few more years but I'm worried the policies are on auto renewal and will be paid automatically, what can I do?
Luke Jeffery, consumer rights expert at Which? says:
These companies call people, often vulnerable, out of the blue and persuade them that they need to buy insurance for their appliances. Often, these policies don't offer much cover and the policy wording is generic, confusing and light on detail.
It might be tempting to pay the renewal cost so that it's dealt with, but this just puts the issue off until the next time and could even leave you open to more cold calls.
If you're worried there might be direct debits going to this company, contact the bank of the person you care for and ask them to cancel any future payments to the company.
In addition, the Direct Debit Guarantee scheme, which most banks are signed up to, can help protect you from unauthorised payments, or payments taken in error.
In these instances, the payer is entitled to a full refund from their bank. In response your bank was quick to block the payment and you haven't been left out of pocket.
When researching 'My Smart Cover' we found that the company's registration on Companies House had been struck off (ordered to close) after only a year.
Despite multiple attempts to contact 'My Smart Cover', it has not responded.
We've passed our findings onto the insurance industry regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and asked them for advice on what to do in this situation.
The FCA is working with Trading Standards to tackle the issue, although it was unable to provide any details of recent action it had taken.
Legitimate and reputable firms never call people out of the blue asking for payment. If you are called unexpectedly, check the details before you commit to buying anything being sold this way.
We checked the FCA's register for 'My Smart Cover' but didn't find it on there. When a company isn't on the register it could mean that the company isn't complying with the regulator's rules.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warns: 'some fraudulent firms take payments from customers but don't arrange the insurance as agreed. This could leave you with little or no protection.
'Some other companies contact people to sell, promote or advise on insurance without our authorisation.
'To confirm the identity of an authorised firm, ask for their 'firm reference number' (FRN) and contact details. You should always call them back on the switchboard number given on the FS Register.
'Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.'
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*This person's name has been changed on request