The sun is shining, birds are singing, and the tea is sweet. Just as you’re about to relax from a stressful week, your cell rings. It’s an unfamiliar number, but you decide to answer it anyway—what could ruin such a perfect Saturday?
“We’re calling to inform you that your vehicle warranty has expired,” a stilted robotic voice drones. After thumbing the red end-call button, you vaguely remember the satisfaction of slamming down a desk phone.
You know what? It’s too hot, the birds are loud, and this tastes like pure sugar. What a rotten day!
If that sounds familiar, you’re one of many Americans who are bombarded with vehicle warranty robocalls. Heck, if you only get one call, count yourself lucky: I’ve received a half-dozen identical calls in a row, each time from a different number.
Making matters worse, the Federal Trade Commission warns that vehicle warranty robocalls could be more than an annoying interruption—they might be a scam. Let’s take a look at info recently highlighted by the agency.
What are the risks of vehicle warranty robocalls?
“Scam phone call” likely brings to mind identity theft. While that threat is ever present, the FTC says this particular scam is a little different.
“The companies behind this type of robocall are not with your car dealer or manufacturer, and the ‘extended warranty’ they’re trying to sell you is actually a service contract that often sells for hundreds or thousands of dollars,” the FTC says. “If you buy it, you may find that the contract doesn’t actually cover any problems you have with your car because of the restrictions in the fine print.”
In other words, you agree to pay this company for a useless “service.”
What are the signs of a vehicle warranty robocall?
Robocalls, as the name implies, begin with a prerecorded message that is sometimes created using text-to-speech software. The more rudimentary the program, the easier it is to identify. Vehicle warranty robocall recordings—as noted in the intro—tell you that your warranty has expired or “that they’ve sent you several notices in the mail.” If you don’t take their extended warranty offer, they threaten to “close your file.”
Since robocalls do not involve a live person, they tend to funnel you into a phone tree—functioning like an even more miserable version of an automated customer service line. In this case, the FTC says the scammers offer two options:
- Press a number if you’re interested in renewing your warranty
- Press a different number if you want to be removed from the list
As you can probably guess, you shouldn’t play along.
What should I do if I receive a vehicle warranty robocall?
The FTC says the first thing you should do is hang up the phone. You next steps should be blocking the number, then reporting the incident to the National Do Not Call Registry.
If you want to learn more about blocking phone calls and reporting robocalls, check out these links:
Source: “Hang up on auto warranty robocalls,” FTC.gov