Car-Warranty Robocallers: The Jig is Up. Finally.

By  |  Friday, May 15, 2009 at 10:36 am

I don’t claim to be an expert on religious theory, but I am reasonably confident that there’s a special circle in Hell reserved for the sleazeballs behind those automated cell-phone calls that attempt to trick you into thinking that your car warranty is about to expire as an excuse to sell you a new extended warranty.

I’ve lost track of how many of them I’ve received, but my blood pressure shoots up every time I answer my phone and discover that it’s not only a robocall, but a lying, cheating robocall. (They’re dialing randomly, of course: My car warranty lapsed long ago, and I’ve heard from friends who don’t have drivers’ licenses who get these spamcalls.) To make matters worse, some of the calls are not from warranty peddlers, but rather from identity thieves.

So it’s heartening to hear (via Daring Fireball) that the FTC is finally cracking down on two companies behind the scam. I don’t, however, understand why it took so long for the agency to take action when this has been going on for eons, or why it’s apparently responding to the fact that New York Senator Charles Schumer received a warranty robocall last week. Thirty thousand Americans who hold no elective office had already griped about the calls–I woulda hoped that the FTC would have stepped in by the time, oh, let’s say the five thousandth complaint had been lodged.

If thirty thousand people were moved to file complaints, who knows how many have received the calls? The two companies the FTC is acting against apparently made $10 million in ill-gotten gains, but their biggest crime may have been wasting untold thousands of hours of time of the people who received the calls and had to listen to ’em. Even those who, like me, got really good at hanging up three or four words into the recorded scam.



5 Comments For This Post

  1. Avram Says:

    I don’t own a car and I get the same warranty call at my desk at work every two weeks and have since I started my job 1.5 years ago. I would love for this to stop.

    Of course, I think even worse is the occasional spam SMS message. For phone users who pay per message, this is literally stealing.

  2. Jared Newman Says:

    This is the second warning…*click*

  3. Martha Says:

    It’s about time! I have to admit, I never called to complain, though. I hope they’re also going after the robocallers who are claiming they’ll lower your credit card rates — the same companies, I’d assume.

  4. jim jones Says:

    These people should be publicly water-boarded, everyday, for several years.

  5. JDoors Says:

    “If thirty thousand people were moved to file complaints, who knows how many have received the calls?”

    Just read an estimated ONE BILLION calls may have gone out from just the warranty call centers. I know close to half of those were to MY house …