Staff in jeopardy from Homeserve fury

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The Independent Online

Around 100 staff at maintenance and insurance group Homeserve have been told their jobs could be at risk after it decided to outsource its customer complaints department.

The move comes after Homeserve said last month it would cost it £10m to retrain its salesforce after revelations surfaced about sub-standard selling practices.

The group, which styles itself the "fifth emergency service", said it hoped to outsource the complaints department early in the new year.

It said it was now able to handle seven out of 10 calls from customers and planned to relaunch its marketing campaign with mailshots in January. But some analysts were disappointed Homeserve has not yet returned to full-scale marketing.

Caroline de La Soujeole of Seymour Pierce said: "We reiterate our reduce recommendation reflecting the high level of uncertainty after evidence of sub-standard selling practices." Homeserve has added a water company as an affiliate. Sembcorp Bournemouth Water has some 200,000 domestic customers, 10,000 of whom already have the kind of emergency cover Homeserve will supply.