Robo-Warranty Scheme Sued by FTC

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Anecdotally, it seems like almost everyone has had one of the “your vehicle warranty is about to expire” robo-calls sometime in the last year or so. Hopefully a civil suit by the FTC will cut back on some of the annoyance. Fox News reports that the scheme, allegedly perpetrated by Christopher Cowart, James and Maureen Dunne, and Kamian Kohlfeld, netted $10 million in fraudulent income. The scheme reportedly violated the Federal Trade Commission Act by misrepresenting or omitting material facts in their sales pitches, and that they violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule by “flatly ignoring” rules that prerecorded calls disclose the identity of the seller “promptly, and in a clear and conspicuous manner.” Read the whole sordid story at Fox to hear how these charming characters are trying to pass blame off on each other. And remember, there’s a special place in hell for people like this.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Jaywalker Jaywalker on Jun 16, 2009

    They had thousands of complaints. You'd think they could have been satisfied with "hundreds" and moved on these ...people... sooner.

  • LoserBoy LoserBoy on Jun 16, 2009

    Every time these people called me, I added their number to a "Telemarketer" entry in my contacts, just in case they used the same number twice. (They didn't, that I recall.) I put all telemarketing numbers in there, but I tend not to have that problem since it's a cell phone, and unless the law has changed recently, you aren't allowed to solicit a cell number. Anyway, "Telemarketer" has nineteen phone numbers associated with it. At least fourteen of those are these guys.

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Jun 16, 2009

    There's a fascinating discussion on this over at Slashdot. It more or less boils down to the FTC dropping the ball badly on this scam and only taking action after the media dust-up. There were thousands, perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands of complaints across the US and Canada and the FTC more or less just sat on it's hands. Heck, there were people in very senior positions in government who complained to the FTC. Again, nothing. Denying or severly limiting the ability of calling parties to mask or alter CID information would go a long way to fixing this, but the incumbent telcos are pretty complicit in this kind of stuff (it makes them money) and the regulators are gutless. That the American telecomm industry is a balkanized mess doesn't help.

  • Puppyknuckles Puppyknuckles on Jun 16, 2009

    I just got something in the mail yesterday from a generic "Warranty Services" in Chicago. Somehow they knew that my factory warranty on my car just ran out last week and thought it would be nice to send me a threatening letter saying in no uncertain terms that if I intend to drive my car ever again I am obligated to call their number immediately. I thought it was funny and threw it in the trash. When they start calling my phone, though, it's on. Screw these crooks.