Federal Trade Commission Offers Advice on Extended Warranty Scams
FTC warns consumers to do their research before purchasing a vehicle service contract
Auto service contracts are sold by vehicle manufacturers, auto dealers, and independent providers. If you’re considering a service contract, shop around so you understand exactly what you’re buying.
Beware of Auto Warranty Scams
Be skeptical of mail and phone calls warning that the warranty on your car is about to expire. The companies behind the letters and calls may give the impression they represent your car dealer or manufacturer. With phrases like Motor Vehicle Notification, Final Warranty Notice or Notice of Interruption, they are trying to make the offer seem urgent — and to get you to call a toll-free number for more information. Investigate before you buy.
Be alert to fast talkers. Telemarketers pitching auto warranties often use high-pressure tactics to hide their true motive.
More than likely, these pitches are from unrelated businesses that want to sell you extended warranties — more accurately known as service contracts — that often sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars. If you respond to a call from a business pitching so-called extended warranties, you’re likely to hear high-pressure sales tactics, as well as demands for personal financial information and a down payment, before you get any details about the service contract. And if you buy a service contract, you may find that the company behind it won’t be in business long enough to fulfill its commitments.
Steer Clear of Auto Warranty Scams
If you get mail or phone calls about renewing your vehicle warranty, don’t take the information at face value. Your vehicle’s warranty may be far from expiring — or it may have expired already. If you have a question about your warranty, check your owner’s manual, call the dealer who sold you the car, or contact the vehicle manufacturer.
Be alert to fast talkers. Telemarketers pitching auto warranties often use high-pressure tactics to hide their true motive. Take your time. Most legitimate businesses will give you time and written information about an offer before asking you to commit to a purchase.
Never give out personal financial or other sensitive information like your bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers – even your driver’s license number or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) – unless you know who you’re dealing with. Scam artists often ask for this information during an unsolicited sales pitch, and then use it to commit other frauds against you.
Be skeptical of any unsolicited sales calls and recorded messages. If your phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry: You shouldn't get live or recorded sales pitches unless you have specifically agreed to accept such calls, bought something from the company within the last 18 months, or asked the company for information within the last three months. Read Robocalls to learn more. To report violations of the National Do Not Call Registry or to register a phone number, visit DoNotCall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.
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