Homecall Plus goes bust
Homecall+ has gone bust. So what should you do?
Homecall+, one of the largest providers of home emergency cover, has gone bust, leaving thousands of potential customers stranded without cover in an emergency.
The FSA-regulated firm, which charged at least £140 a year for a standard policy, went into liquidation last week and has been told by the FSA that it must stop carrying out its activities – but its website is still advertising its services to customers.
Meanwhile, customers who phone the Homecall+ helpline in the middle of a plumbing or heating emergency are being told they cannot make a claim as the company has gone into receivership.
Other customers are finding their policies have been renewed by the company under recurring payment agreements and are unable to get their money back.
The company does not appear to be making any attempt to contact its customers to warn them to seek out alternative cover, meaning that many will only realise they do not have adequate cover when it is too late to buy an alternative policy.
The FSA seemed unaware of the fact that the Homecall+ website is still trading until lovemoney.com got in touch, and there is no warning on the website that the company has gone into liquidation.
The Insolvency Service said it had sent the London Gazette notice about the liquidation of the firm but did not expect this to be published for a few weeks.
I’m a customer, what should I do?
There are two ways that customers can seek to get their money back.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS will offer compensation of all wasted premiums to Homecall+ customers as it is a regulated firm, and 90% of any valid insurance claim. But it needs customers to contact it and make a claim before it can investigate.
Similarly, the Visa chargeback scheme and Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act also protect customers who have made payments to bankrupt firms by debit or credit card. But you need to provide proof of bankruptcy before you can get help under these schemes. Call Mike Smith on 0161 234 8481 to get this proof, or quote Leeds District court reference number 2652011 as proof that proceedings are taking place.
On the positive side, Homecall+ policies which were taken out before 3rd December 2010 are being covered by Brit Insurance – but anyone who has taken out a policy since then is totally without cover.
Tell us about your experiences
If you’ve been affected by this, please let us know using the comments box below.