An U.S. federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday shutting down a telemarketing campaign that made hundreds of millions of alleged deceptive “robocalls” promoting vehicle warranty contracts.

The request for the restraining order granted by Judge John Grady of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois was filed by the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday.

The FTC said the telemarketing scheme has prompted “tens of thousands of complaints from consumers who are either on the Do Not Call Registry or asked not to be called.” This is a violation of federal law.

The pre-recorded, automated telemarketing calls made to cell phones and landlines have been deceiving consumers into thinking their car warranties are expiring, and pitching sales of service contracts falsely portrayed as extended warranties, the commission said.
In addition to the FTC’s restraining-order request, the commission would further impose an asset freeze on all the defendants and put two of the corporate defendants under the control of court-appointed receivers.

  1. 9yo says:


  2. DavidtheDuke says:

    I was wondering if I was the only one getting this. It and a satellite TV robocall I’ve been getting for months. I only have so many minutes on my cell. It should be illegal by default for my number to be available to these ‘marketers’ on that basis alone.

  3. Gary, the dangerous infidel says:

    I like the FTC’s attempt to go further than a simple cease-and-desist. I’d like to see them freeze their assets off.

    Personally, I’ve learned to roll with these calls. I punch “1” to talk to a representative, and if a woman answers, I say “tell me what you’re wearing…”

  4. pcsmith says:

    Make an example out of them. Take their money, put them in front of a brick wall, tie them to a wooden post, and let anyone who wants shoot them with paint balls.

    If a takes a few months for everyone to have a turn, so be it.

  5. WmDE says:

    My Mother got a call from one of the live versions of the auto warranty scam. She inadvertently found a way to make them hang up.

    They asked what year and make her car was. She replied that she owned a 1985 Mercury. There was an immediate click in response.

    Always say you have a 1985 Mercury.

    PS: Mom added over 20 years to the age of her car.

  6. Stars & Bars says:

    It got to where they would phone every three days. The number on the caller i.d. had too many digits. The last time they phoned, and I do mean the last time, I kept them on the phone for 40 minutes. Told them I wanted everything they had to sell. Some how they were able to look up my vehicle information. Gave them all the old cars I’d ever owned. When it got down making the payment I ask where a money order could be sent. The really wanted my debit card info. Told them I do not have one and always paid cash or sent a money order. I told them I really wanted their warrant and was ready to send a money order. I all but begged for their address.

    That was three months ago, they never phoned again.

    These were the same bastards who wanted to help with my bad credit. They simply wanted a credit card number.

    I hope there is a special room in Dante’s Hell for these bastards.

  7. OvenMaster says:

    I have an answering machine, and those damn calls clog it up with the “Don’t make the mistake of driving without a warranty!” BS day after day.

    Methinks one of these days I’ll pick up the phone and tell ’em about my mom’s ’91 Crown Vic wagon. That thing hasn’t had warranty coverage in almost 20 years. Maybe they can help me! 😀

  8. Hvacmach says:

    “tens of thousands of complaints” and it took the FCC this long to say stop!!!!

    Our government at work, or not?

  9. Uncle Dave says:

    #5: I would suggest a ’76 AMC Pacer in mint condition. If they don’t hang up, you’ll probably not only have to explain what a Pacer was, but what AMC was.

    #8: Can’t be interfering with capitalism and the taxes these companies generate without good cause, now can we?

  10. Ralph, the Bus Driver says:

    Where are all the right wing nuts complaining about government interference into an entrepreneurs right to make money?

  11. wetback says:

    i guess desperate times calls for desperate measures. No business, make promotional phone calls.

  12. madtruckman says:

    here in indiana our attorney general just filed a lawsuit against 2 of these warranty scam places for violation of do-not-call lists. one of them was that stupid u.s. fidelis. warranties BETTER than the manufacturer?? come on….

  13. Stopher2475 says:

    I like to keep them on the line as long as possible, maybe say hold on a sec and walk away for 5 min, and then say I don’t have a car.

  14. denacron says:

    # 10 Ralph, the Bus Driver

    “Where are all the right wing nuts complaining about government interference into an entrepreneurs right to make money?”

    They are too busy answering calls from the left wing nut that is offering warranty extensions.

  15. ArchtMig says:

    I get these, plus similar ones claiming there is a problem with my credit card and that they have been unsuccessful in getting ahold of me. I also get the “Dave’s Carpet Cleaning” robocalls. I hate all these bastards to death. I once stayed on the line with the carpet cleaning scam just to see what would happen. Once a real person came on, I couldn’t even get two angry words out before she hung up immediately. These carpet cleaning scams are done by aggregators that get your information and send out some local yokel carpet cleaning company that subscribes to their leads services. I can’t understand why the authorities can’t eventually trace back through the local folks and eventually get back to the telemarketers themselves.

  16. Uncle Patso says:

    We have received these calls on our landline and both our cells. The one good thing that came of it was it reminded us, “Oh yeah! We need to put the cells on the Do Not Call list!” (We just got the cells last year.) The few times they called that I had a few seconds to deal with it, I could never get anyone to come on the line. Weird!

    The worst call I’ve gotten recently, though, was actually a live person, but I couldn’t understand a word he said. His VOIP system must have been terribly overloaded — it couldn’t have been sending out more than about 5 bits per second. Imagine trying to talk to someone on the phone, but someone was turning the sound on and off about 5 times per second and the person on the other end had their head in a bucket. That’s what it sounded like.

  17. Mac Guy says:

    Uncle Dave – Considering I’m originally from Wisconsin, I’m quite well-versed in AMC. I remember it was a sad day when they finally closed.

  18. Ron Larson says:

    You shouldn’t need to put your mobile on the Do-Not-Call list. It is illegal for them to call you on it anyhow.

    I received two of these robo calls on my mobile. I filed complaints with the FTC’s website. They wrote back an official letter that they reviewed my complaint and found there was no violation and was dismissed. And on the back of the very letter they listed how it is illegal for a company to do exactly what my complaint has registered.

    Amazing. I can’t help but think that the FTC is (A) a bunch of idiots or (B) in cahoots with these scammers.

    So reading this news surprised me that they got off their fat asses and did something.

  19. Cephus says:

    I’ve been getting them too, I even waited to the end, hit 1 to get to an operator and… NOBODY EVER ANSWERED! How in the hell can they stay in business robo-calling everyone when there’s nobody there to take anyone’s money?

    Now if they can just get rid of the “we have important information about your credit card account” robo-calls, I’ll be happy.

  20. meetsy says:

    I have filed a FCC form online every time these boneheads call. Twenty two times! This scam has been going on for a long time. It’s estimated (fcc’s LOW estimate) that a billion calls have been made, and many to cell phones. (Which costs the consumer.)
    One cell phone company actually tried to block them, and were instrumental in getting some action. Verizon sued two warranty scam companies, and WON (April 29,2009)
    “”Back in March 2008, Verizon launched a lawsuit against Auto Warranty Services and Explicit Media for allegedly placing calls to Verizon mobile customers, using practices that violated the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The complaint, filed by Verizon, stated that the companies used illegal autodialers to contact Verizon customers and also used spoofing methods to hide caller identity. Instead of continuing a lengthy court battle, the two companies have now settled with Verizon Wireless for $50,000, which Verizon has decided to donate to the charity, Joyful Heart Foundation, a charity started to aid survivors of sexual assault.”
    There have been several state Attorney General’s office who’ve tried to crack down, but because these guys are crooks, and hide where they are… these scams won’t go away until our inept government takes a hard stand.
    It’s not just the auto warranty, but the guys pretending to collect for police officer’s benevolent societies, for the online crap…where your debit card is funneled to some company that sucks $5. or $10 bucks out of your account each month (and the bank won’t stop it), or the “club benefits” that send out bills to your credit card (i.e. Damark!), or the online service that “forgets” to take you off the list, long after you’ve discontinued service.
    We’re being bled dry in this country. It’s estimated that EVERY single American loses something like $200 a year to scammers. (And that doesn’t account for the uber-schmucks who fall for the Nigerian Scam stuff.) Why? Try reading reg-E regarding electronic transfers of your money (debit cards, etc). Our government has been out of the business of protecting us by passing crap such as this:

    You have NO protection….it’s all a series of ‘gotcha sucka’. And, to think that the current proposed overhaul of credit card fees is being fought tooth-and-nail by banks.
    We have no credit protection. We are all unattended lambs..circled by wolves.
    This current “get tough” push is a good thing….I hope it continues.

  21. Uncle Dave says:

    #17: I worked in the Milwaukee AMC plant one summer in the mid-70’s while I was in college. An eye opening experience.

  22. Glenn E. says:

    Apparently the Telcos that provided these clowns the means to communicate their scam, are blameless! And yet, entities like Napster WERE persecuted for aiding piracy (“driving the getaway car”). So why are the Telcos getting off scout free about this? Is the theft of tunes and movies, over the internet, considered the only serious crime?! But helping to propagate bogus warranty plans over the phone, IS NOT?! Let’s face it, this scam only effects us NOBODYS! And media piracy effects the super rich. Who apparently get more legal muscle gunning for them, via our government, than the rest of us nobodys do.

    The Telcos all ought to be fined (substantially) for aiding these scammers. Who very likely knew what want was going on. But choose to profit from their scammer clients. Thus aiding them in breaking the law! If the courts can bring down Napster and others for aiding piracy. Then they can punish AT&T and others for making these “telemarketing” scams
    possible, too. The deciding logic shouldn’t be the lobbyist connections of the victims! But I guess, IT ALWAYS IS!!!

  23. Ho-Lip Tex says:

    I got ’em three times:

    #1. I waited until a “human” answered, and then asked her to tell me what vehicle had the expired warranty. When she (no surprise) couldn’t, I told her off and hung up 🙂

    #2. I fed them some contradictory info about my “Toyota Camry”. They eventually caught on and ended the call.

    #3. Hehe, had the poor sap thinking he was gonna get a sale (fed him bogus, but realistic info). He had to put me on hold for a minute at the last second, at which point I hung up. You could hear the excitement in his voice >:)

    Moral of the story: don’t call me with a telemarketing scheme when I have nothing better to do.

  24. Benjamin says:

    Laze fare does not apply to douche-bagery. If I am taking your time and minutes, I need to provide you something valuable.

    There is no way to get to a person when these car warranty people get to you. It’s not a smart way to do business and it pisses off the potential customers.


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