I guess I have been fortunate to have not received any of the ‘robo-calls’ soliciting car warranty extensions, but some of my neighbors have been victimized. A few weeks ago I was speaking to one neighbor who stated he had received a dozen calls or so about his vehicle warranty ending. It now appears that over one billion of the calls have been made throughout the country. Even if you are on the do not call list, it seems that the list is being ignored.

According to an article about the calls, the FTC is taking action by suing the offending companies. The article states that:

The FTC named Voice Touch Inc. and Transcontinental Warranty Inc., which it called the telemarketer and promoter of the scheme, respectively, in the lawsuits. The agency is seeking injunctions forcing them to return allegedly ill-gotten gains.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz called it “one of the most aggressive” telemarketing schemes the agency has ever seen.

“I’m not sure which is worse, the abusive telemarketing tactics of these companies, or the way they try to deceive people once they get them on the phone,” Leibowitz said. “Either way, we intend to shut them down.”

It took some heavy sleuthing to determine what companies were responsible since they made “extraordinary” efforts to conceal their identities by masking their true phone numbers, he said. Such concealment by telemarketers is illegal, as is refusal to promptly identify themselves to consumers.

If a consumer received such a call about his car warranty, “there’s a very real chance that these guys did it,”

The telemarketers are misrepresenting service contracts — which consumers have to pay for — as warranties, which are included in the price of buying a vehicle, the FTC says.

“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, but they continue to come even if consumers opt out.

“This is where you’re told to push No. 1 to speak to a representative, or push No. 2 to be removed from the list. I’ve pushed that No. 2 button so many times from their calls, I’ve broken two phones!” said Craig Michie of Las Vegas.

If you have been a victim of these illegals phone calls the FTC recommends the following action:

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

I hope this information helps those who have been victimized by this illegal activity.

Comments welcome.

Silicon Valley acticle.

FTC article.