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Attorney General Warns of Car Warranty Scams

Posted December 13, 2007

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— Attorney General Roy Cooper on Thursday warned North Carolina consumers to be skeptical of postcards or telephone calls claiming that their car warranties are about to expire.

“These offers target seniors and other car owners with postcards and phone calls that sound urgent,” said Cooper, whose office is investigating the postcards and calls. “They want to pressure you into buying an expensive car warranty. Don’t let a high-pressure sales pitch talk you into something you don’t want or need.”

In the past month, Cooper’s office has averaged around 30 calls a week from consumers who’ve received these postcards in the mail or calls on the phone urging them to renew their car warranties before they expire.

Since May, a total of 25 North Carolina consumers have filed written complaints with Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division about the pitches. Many of the consumers got pre-recorded phone messages, mailings, or both asking them to purchase an extended warranty. The solicitations have especially targeted seniors.

The postcards and phone messages include phrases like “motor vehicle notification,” “final notice” or “priority level: high” in large letters to make the offer seem urgent.

When consumers who receive one of the phone messages or postcards respond by calling the number listed, they are pressured to buy an expensive extended warranty for their car. Callers are told they must make a down payment before they can get information about the warranty.

Cooper offered consumers the following tips:

  • Beware of mailings that appear to come from your automobile manufacturer offering extended warranty coverage.
  • Beware of pre-recorded phone calls. In North Carolina, it’s illegal for telemarketers to use pre-recorded messages unless a live person first asks you if you want to listen to the recording.
  • Never give out personal financial information like your bank account number or Social Security Number over the phone.
  • Check to see if you already have a car warranty, or if your warranty has already expired. Many of the consumers who’ve gotten these offers say their car warranties expired long ago.
  • When considering an extended warranty, always get information in writing before you agree to sign up or pay any money.
  • Check out a business with the Attorney General’s Office and your local Better Business Bureau before you agree to do business with them.

If you’ve responded to one of these offers, you can file a complaint with Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division by calling toll-free 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by clicking here for a complaint form.


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  • juliemc58 Dec 15, 2007

    I just simply throw away this type of junk mail. I hope no one gets taken on this scheme.

  • bronzegoddess40 Dec 14, 2007

    I get emails all the time about this and I delete them. I also talk to my parents about them so that they too will delete them or throw them in the trash.

  • frenzeegrrl Dec 14, 2007

    "In North Carolina, it’s illegal for telemarketers to use pre-recorded messages unless a live person first asks you if you want to listen to the recording."
    Is this true?? My company gets these calls all the time!

  • Travised Dec 13, 2007

    Joe, do NOT repeat, DO NOT list cell phones on the do not call list. It is illegal for telemarketing to call cells in the united states. No reason to list it. If they call your cell thats a MAJOR violation.

  • TruthBKnown Dec 13, 2007

    Is the scam that the warranty is not from the actual dealership as people are led to believe? Or is the scam that there is NO warranty at all, and people are paying money for absolutely nothing?

  • runny29840 Dec 13, 2007

    As someone else said, I just laugh at these when I get them. My car is a '87 and my van is a '93 and I bought them used. They didn't have a warranty on them when I bought them and any warranty I could have had on them would have expired a long time ago.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Dec 13, 2007

    I believe I also received one of these in the mail within the past week or so.

    But concerning phone sales calls, register all of your home and cell numbers at the National Do Not Call Registry online. The government runs this list and all telemarketers are required to check this list, every so often, and remove this numbers from their lists. It works VERY well. But it can take possibly up to 3 months or so before it begins to work. It can take that long for some companies to check the list.

    The web address is https://www.donotcall.gov/

  • bigbr0ther Dec 13, 2007

    Just do what I do when I get a phone call from an actually person. I tell them to hold up so I can get a pad and paper so I cna write the info down, and grab one of the sports air horns you can buy, and blow that thing in my phone so it kills their ears. They have the headsets so the speakers are right in their ears. I bet they wont call you back no more.

  • TheAdmiral Dec 13, 2007

    These are what we call Trollers. They troll for stupid people who are willing to part with their money.

    They are too dumb to go from "Everything that comes to my mailbox and my email box is true!" to "Anything I get is trash."

    They are just too dumb. If I send a single postcard and said I needed $10 to upgrade their post card, I would get it from 50% of the people I send it to. That is what Consumer Reports is reporting.

  • SailbadTheSinner Dec 13, 2007

    I receive the equivalent of two deciduous forests worth of this junk every week.

    Most say “Urgent – Final Notice” or something similar. If only that were true ....

    I receive almost no telephone calls. I use the Bellsouth “Privacy Director” and it really works like a champ ....