Feds To Hang Up on Auto Warranty “Robocalls”

Several senators angry after getting calls

Hey, did you know your car warranty expired?

You might have if you received one of those "robocalls" that have been hounding people via cell phone recently.

The calls go something like this:

"Out of warranty? You are still eligible to reactivate warranty coverage. This is the final call before we close the file."

It seems like the calls are targeting cell phones. But they sure aren't just targeting drivers who own cars with warranties that are about to expire. Even people who don't own cars are getting them, according to DCist.com. Two members of the staff received the calls even though they don't own a vehicle. They tried to take matters into their own hands:

This editor and DCist Weekend Editor Kriston Capps have been comparing notes about the frequency and obnoxiousness of the calls for literally months now. Neither of us own cars. Last week, Capps got so fed up that he actually tried to talk to the company.

"It was the third call from the number that day, so I answered it and pressed '1' to go through," Capps says. He asked the man who answered to take his number off of their call list, and asked for a physical address, so he could mail a cease and desist letter—or something, anything to make the calls stop.

"And the guy said, 'I'm not giving you an address, I don't have to give you anything, and there's nothing you can do to stop the calls.' And then he hung up!"

Well it appears 300,000 complaints -- and irate senators who also received the calls -- finally got the attention of the FTC. According to the Associated Press:

The Federal Trade Commission has inquiries underway into several companies involved in the deceptive calls, and "law enforcement action in this area can be expected imminently," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said Monday in a letter to Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

So it looks like someday soon you'll be able to stop screening all of your calls from numbers you don't recognize. Or at the very least you'll know it's someone who just has fat fingers and can't dial properly...

What To Do If They Call You?

The Better Business Bureau offers the following advice for dealing with firms offering extended auto warranty contracts:

  • Never give personal information, including Social Security, bank or credit card numbers, over the phone to an unknown telemarketer.
  • Read your manufacturer’s warranty and contact your dealer or manufacturer to ensure that you are not purchasing duplicate coverage.
  • Consumers can place their phone numbers on the Federal Do Not Call List by visiting www.donotcall.gov. If a consumer is already on the list but continues to receive telemarketing calls, he or she can use the same Web site to report incidents to the Federal Trade Commission.
  • To find trustworthy auto warranty companies, consumers can check out BBB Reliability Reports online and free of charge at www.bbb.org.
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