Local News

Attorney General Warns of Car Warranty Scams

Posted December 13, 2007 12:44 p.m. EST
Updated December 13, 2007 10:07 p.m. EST

— 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.