Consumer Confidential: Consumers are receiving billions of car-warranty calls. Ignore them

David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

t's hard to feel lonely working from home when you get called every day about your car warranty.

You know what I'm talking about. The robocall — it's always a recording — warns that your vehicle warranty is expired or about to expire. By pressing "one" on your keypad, you can fix things by signing up for an extended warranty.

Spoiler alert: That extended warranty is either nonexistent or not worth the paper it's printed on.

"Usually those so-called warranties aren't really warranties," said Rosemary Shahan, president of the Sacramento-based advocacy group Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.

"They're cleverly worded service contracts that are obscenely overpriced and full of loopholes and exclusions," she told me.

RoboKiller, maker of a robocall-blocking app, estimated in a recent report that Americans will receive about 13 billion car-warranty calls this year, making the calls the single most ubiquitous phone scam.


"It's statistically possible that every smartphone owner in the United States will have received more than one car-warranty scam by the end of 2021," the company said.

"The car-warranty robocall is projected to become the biggest phone scam since RoboKiller began monitoring robocall trends in 2017," it added.

If you get one of these calls, the Federal Trade Commission says, "slam on the brakes."

"This is an illegal robocall and likely a scam," the agency warns. "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."


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