Your Better Business Bureau serving northwest Florida is warning consumers to be extremely wary of telemarketing calls and mailers which claim their auto warranty has expired or is about to expire. BBB advises that the deceptive solicitations could persuade car owners to purchase an extended auto service contract of questionable value.
BBB has seen a spike in both complaints and inquiries from consumers over misleading mailers or telemarketing calls in reference to their auto warranty. In 2008, over 140,000 consumers across the country contacted their BBB to confirm the legitimacy of businesses.
“Due to economic troubles, BBB is hearing from consumers who are being harassed by telemarketers and mailers trying to scare them into thinking their auto warranty has expired or will shortly expire,” said Norman Wright, president and CEO of your BBB. “In lying to consumers about their coverage, they are potentially ignoring federal laws.”
Consumers were told they needed to take immediate action to avoid a lapse in coverage. BBB research shows that the consumer is actually being sold an extended service contract.
The value of the various extended service contracts has been called into question, such as conditions being difficult to meet. For instance, pre-existing conditions often are not covered and proof of maintenance records is often required.
BBB offers the following advice for dealing with a firm selling extended service contracts:
- Never give personal information, including Social Security, bank or credit card numbers over the phone to an unknown telemarketer.
- Before signing a contract or providing payment information, insist on getting a contract first, in which all terms and conditions are clearly explained.
- Read your auto manufacturer’s warranty and contact your dealer or manufacturer so that you are not purchasing duplicate coverage.
- Before purchasing warranty coverage, check the company out at www.bbb.org.
- Consumers can place their phone number on the federal do not call list by visiting www.donotcall.gov. If the consumer is already on the list but continues to receive calls, he or she can use the same Web site to report the incident to the FTC.
For more information you can trust on avoiding fraud and identity theft, go to www.bbb.org.