Schumer calling for federal investigation into 'nuisance' vehicle warranty phone spam
Unsolicited calls to home and cell phones warning of a final notice and an expiring vehicle warranty are a nuisance and harassment and should be the subject of a federal investigation, a U.S. senator said Sunday.
More and more Americans are receiving calls with a computerized voice saying, "This is the final notice. The factory warranty on your vehicle is about to expire," or something similar, several times a day on their cell or land lines. The calls come even if a person has signed up for the national "do not call" registry.
Now, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York wants a federal investigation into the "robo-dialer harassment."
"Not only are these calls a nuisance, but they tie up land lines and can eat up a user's cell phone minutes, possibly leading to a higher cell phone bill due to overage charges," said Schumer, D-N.Y.
Meanwhile, officials in 40 states are investigating the companies behind the car-warranty calls.
Michelle Corey, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau in St. Louis, Mo., said the industry is based largely in the St. Louis area and generates thousands of complaints a year.
She said a group of companies began operating in Missouri in the mid-1990s that offered extended repair warranties to people whose manufacturer-issued warranties were about to expire. Within a few years, about 35 firms were offering similar services.
"It's a very lucrative industry," Corey said.
The companies offer contracts akin to insurance policies, pledging to pay for car repairs in exchange for fees paid up front.
The companies call numbers randomly and leave messages telling people that their auto warranties are about to expire — whether or not they own a car.
Some companies also send out cards that mislead recipients into thinking that their vehicle has been subject to a safety recall, Corey said.
If people call back and agree to buy a policy, Corey said, the companies often don't let them see the contract until they agree to pay.Continue Reading over at ABC News
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