Die, car warranty phone spammers! Die, die, die!
OK, maybe that's a tad bit harsh, but if this leads somewhere I do hope that public execution will be on the table.
Unsolicited calls to home and cell phones warning of a final notice and an expiring vehicle warranty are a nuisance and harassment and should be the subject of a federal investigation, a U.S. senator said Sunday.
More and more Americans are receiving calls with a computerized voice saying, "This is the final notice. The factory warranty on your vehicle is about to expire," or something similar, several times a day on their cell or land lines. The calls come even if a person has signed up for the national "do not call" registry.
Now, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York wants a federal investigation into the "robo-dialer harassment."
"Not only are these calls a nuisance, but they tie up land lines and can eat up a user's cell phone minutes, possibly leading to a higher cell phone bill due to overage charges," said Schumer, D-N.Y.
Meanwhile, officials in 40 states are investigating the companies behind the car-warranty calls.
I have gotten these calls on every phone I have, including my business line and my work BlackBerry, whose phone number I've never given out. They come in on all different numbers, so you can't even effectively block them. Apparently, these calls are used to sell extended auto warranties, which themselves are largely a ripoff. Why anyone would respond to this kind of sales pitch is beyond me, but then there are people in this world that buy pharmaceuticals via unsolicited emails, so I guess it takes all kinds.
Missouri authorities filed a lawsuit last month against one of the largest car-warranty companies, Wentzville, Mo.-based USfidelis, charging that company officials ignored a subpoena demanding that they answer questions about their business.
A spokeswoman for USfidelis, which has more than 1,000 employees, did not return a call seeking comment Sunday, but the company says on its Web site that it stopped making unsolicited marketing calls last year.
"Frankly, we've identified more effective ways of connecting with our customers," the Web site's "Frequently Asked Questions" section says.
Frankly, I'd think that sneaking up behind your customers and tasering them would be a more effective and less annoying way of connecting with them, but maybe that's just me. Go get 'em, Chuck.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 12, 2009 to Bidness
I woke up to a story about this on NPR yesterday, and was SO happy to hear my senator promising to do something about this. Go, Senator Schumer!
I don't have a home landline, and I haven't (yet) gotten these calls on my cell phone. But I've gotten them on two different business lines. And every time, I want to scream at the phone, "I DON'T OWN A FREAKING CAR!!!!" I'm so glad something is finally going to be done.
As to how something like this could work - I would assume I wouldn't still be getting the Nigerian "give us your bank account to transfer money to" e-mails if they hadn't worked at least once. I think people have the ability to be far more stupid than we think to give them credit for.
USfidelis is not making outgoing, unsolicited phone calls. In fact, we applaud Senator Schumer's request to investigate the manner in which some telemarketing companies are operating within our industry. Our company has had to take various forms of legal action not only to stop misconception about who is making these calls, but also to correct negative impressions these calls leave. Vehicle service contracts are an important component to extending the life of one's vehicle, especially in times like these, and USfidelis has taken great steps to ensure that consumers can choose coverage plans from reputable, stable companies. Furthermore, USfidelis invites all companies in our field to join us in living up to the high standards we had established for ourselves to treat each customer honestly and fairly. This is how we have cultivated long-term relationships with more than 270,000 current customers.