~ 300,000 Complaints Nationwide Over Automated Calls Warning “Your Car Warranty Has Expired” ~
May 12 2009
Contact: Kevin Hall - 202-224-2023
WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner of Virginia and Charles E. Schumer of New York announced today that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has investigations underway into automated telephone “robocalls” that pitch bogus car warranties. Schumer and Warner said they themselves have both received these calls in recent weeks.
The spam calls have targeted Americans randomly on both cell phones and land lines, even when the victim is on the federal “Do Not Call” registry. The call plays an automated message that offers a deal on an extended car warranty. At today’s news conference, the senators released a letter from FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz declaring that “law enforcement action in this area can be expected imminently.”
“In addition to violating the ‘Do Not Call List’ law, these scammers are peddling phony car warranties that exploit consumers,” Senator Warner said. “We’ve heard of Virginians receiving these calls when they do not even own a car, and others who are understandably upset that the automated calls tie-up their phone lines, costing them time and money. We appreciate this prompt action by the FTC to help consumers through a swift investigation and prosecution of these con artists.”
“It’s about time these robocalls were terminated,” Senator Schumer said. “This prompt, aggressive action by the FTC should provide a bit of relief to the Americans besieged by these fraudulent calls. Almost everyone knows someone who’s received these calls. It’s about time we find out who’s behind them, and put a stop to this harassment.
The scam begins when someone’s cell phone rings from an unrecognized number. The caller then turns out to be a computerized voice selling car warranties with voice starting out by saying "Out of warranty? You are still eligible to reactivate warranty coverage. This is the final call before we close the file.” The recording typically gives the caller an option to stop receiving calls, usually saying "press two to be removed from the follow up list." However, the calls continue to come. The company making the calls has no idea what car a person is driving because the calls are randomly generated, so their contention that your warranty "is about to expire" is bogus.
Both Senators have spoken with Leibowitz and received assurances that the consumer-protection agency is investigating the companies behind the deceptive, aggravating calls. Leibowitz also pledged to place a prominent link on the FTC’s homepage to allow Americans victimized by the vexing calls to lodge a formal complaint. The address is www.ftc.gov.