11:01 AM, 20th May 2011, About 10 years ago
Thousands of landlords have been left out of pocket with worthless contracts as emergency repair firm Homecall+ has collapsed.
Homecall+ appears to have continued taking on new business since December 2010 without the permission of regulator the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which failed to publicise a warning about the firm despite highlighting concerns.
Insolvency experts and regulators are now trying to figure out who has a valid policy.
Landlords with contracts starting before December 3 need to talk to insurance firm Brit
Insurance, who were Homecall+’s underwriters until that date. Brit Insurance should still honour those contracts.
However, contracts starting after December 3 are probably worthless, although landlords and homeowners could have a claim for compensation from their credit card provider if they paid by card, or the Financial Services Compensation Service (FSCS).
“The firm remained authorised on the FSA register even if it could not take on new business. We can cover up to 90% of any valid insurance claim and wasted premiums. Customers who believe they need to claim should contact us – the sooner policyholders do this, the quicker it is likely to be declared in default,” the FSCS said.
Policies typically cost between £150 to £200 a year – while repairs like replacing a boiler
could run up bills of £5,000.
Traders became increasingly wary of working for the firm and postings alleging unpaid
invoices running in to several thousands of pounds appeared on the internet.
The FSA has also confirmed Homecall+ customers have complained about poor service.
Homecall+ started trading from Blackburn, Lancashire, in June 2007 as a two-hour response service for buy to let landlords and homeowners for an emergency call-out service to deal with plumbing, heating and electric repairs.
British Gas, Aviva, Direct Line and Homeserve were rivals offering similar services to
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