Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Appliance insurance scammers

This story is rather boring but if it stops one person from being ripped off, I'll feel vindicated in sharing my woe. I mentioned a couple of posts ago that we'd paid 8-9 years worth of insurance premiums on an Indesit washer dryer that resides in our rental property. Two months ago it broke down and after numerous visits, piles of parts and I estimate something in the region of 4-5 hours wasted on hold at Domestic & General (the insurers) and Indesit (the manufacturer and service agents) trying to get this resolved, we finally had a break-through last Friday.

The two engineers dispatched to fix the machine indeed couldn't, and were going to try and source yet more parts. We kicked off at this point: every part had been replaced. The 7 call outs would've cost more than the value of the machine. Each visit was a week apart and meant someone had to wait in (I spent an hour at the flat myself on Friday as the tenants couldn't take time off work). The engineers conceded that the machine should be replaced.

Indesit customer service went into overdrive, phoning me four times on Friday to ensure the engineers had shown up (they did, six minutes after their allocated two-hour slot had expired, luckily Rob optimistically stayed on to let them in). Maybe they started to pay attention because I wrote this complaint or because I started a dialogue with the Press Manager of Domestic & General on Twitter - whatever, I was finally getting some action. The Indesit person assured me that D&G would call me on Friday evening to sort the replacement. They didn't call me about ordering the replacement until Monday, and even then it was to discuss the (wrong) model number. This evening someone had left a message: on top of the £600+ worth of premiums we've paid, they want another £66 to pay for the rest of the year's policy before ordering the replacement. Which incidentally, currently retails for less than £300. I think the term I'm looking for is "Taking the p*ss".

Thanks to the Press Manager we don't have to pay for delivery, but we will have to pay for removal of the old machine (which is still full of water) and installation of the new one (another £26 on top of the £66). For my poor tenants sake, I hope it will be delivered soon!

I have no truck with Indesit as a manufacturer (the machine lasted for 9 years after all) but their service department and Domestic & General are two companies I will never give a penny to after this saga is over, and I encourage you to cancel your policies with these modern day shysters!

I'll end this rant with some wise words from Debbie who responded to my complaint on Groubal:

"I gave up paying these outrageous insurance policies years ago because of this - my washing machine has broken down twice in the past five years and each time I got in a local, old fashioned repair man who did the job with minimum fuss and each time it cost me about £50! Same with my dishwasher! And you are keeping local repair men employed and get a personal service. I would urge everyone to consider this alternative as it works out cheaper."

Spread the word!

UPDATE: Domestic and General hilariously tried to sell me a five year policy on the new machine this morning when I booked the delivery. The £66 I pay buys a policy on my OLD machine for the rest of 2011, but as the machine is broken the policy is terminated (I don't think it makes any sense either... being forced to purchase cover on something that doesn't exist?!)

I've just paid for yet ANOTHER call to Indesit as they wanted to book a time. I explained that D&G had already made a delivery booking but alas, they hadn't, they can pass on the delivery preferences to Indesit but the slot must be booked directly. Between these two companies their income from premium rate phone lines must be through the roof!

POSTSCRIPT: The machine was successfully delivered today, but alas, not installed as they don't install in bathrooms. News to me too. I had to ring 2x numbers to get the installation fee refunded.

I am so over this saga.


Amy said...

Yeah, insurance companies can be dodgy sometimes. I reckon it pays to do your research and make sure they have a good reputation.

Joselyn said...

I had the same situation with my washer/dryer combo in my apt. They only come once a week because they are located an hour away. Each time they brought a new(used and abused) machine which worked until they left. 6 machines, 3 months, and several migraines later...I have a machine that works, but squeaks ridiculously loud. We don't want to chance them bringing another broken replacement so we just deal with it.