I tracked my factory warranty call!

carphonenew

Today I did it! I tracked down the factory warranty call!

It’s Automotive Warranty Protection Services, aka National Dealers Warranty Inc., of St. Peters, Missouri.

A call today led me down a path of research that turned up the company’s name and details of  legal action for shady practices going back years that include the use of illegal telemarketing calls like the ones I and everyone else seem to be getting.

The company was even sued by the Missouri State Attorney General last year. They  settled for a moderate sum and a requirement that the company never use illegal automated calls again. Well I got a call from them today, so they appear to be continuing the practice in violation of this settlement, not to mention federal law.

[Note, this is not US Fidelis, a different warranty services company mentioned on many blogs as being behind the calls.  (not saying they don't do it themselves, but it's not the one I tracked down today). There was also a report on NBC's Today program about US Fidelis, as well as two investigative stories about its founder in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.]

Here’s exactly what happened today:


I got the robocall this afternoon on my cell phone (which is illegal, according to the consumer protection act).

Here’s how it went and the research it led me to:

I get the call: “This is the second notice…”
I wait until the message gets to the part with the numbers.
I press 1 to speak to a representative.
This time I take a different tactic:
Them: What’s the make and model of your vehicle?”
Me: I’m just curious about the price.
Them: Well I can connect you with a representative if you give me your vehicle information?
Me: What’s this company?
Them: Warranty Services
Me: What’s your name?
Them: Angie.
Me: What kind of service do you offer?
Angie: Vehicles fail after your warranty expires. We sell new warranties.
Me: Okay, transfer me to a representative.
Angie: Give me the make and model of your car.
Me: Okay, it’s a 1995 VW Jetta
Angie: Standby sir.
Angie: Okay sir, I have Justin on the line, he will speak to you about the warranty.
Justin: Hi sir, so you have a 1995 VW Jetta. What’s the mileage?
Me: I’m not sure. What kind of service do you provide?
Justin: We can get you a warranty with a 20% discount. It’s called The Choice Protection.
Me: Okay, what do I need to do?
Justin: Tell me the mileage of your car.
Me: I don’t know. Can I call you back?
Justin: I can hold while you get it.
Me: Oh, my car’s not here. I’ll have to call you back in 5 minutes.
Justin: I can call you back in 5 minutes.
Me: Actually, my cell phone battery is dying. I’ll have to call you.
Justin: Tell me the other number.
Me: I don’t know what it is yet.
Justin: Okay, here’s the number. 1-800-913-4558, extension 2114.
Me: Thank you.

I hang up. I dial the number. I hear a voice saying something about auto warranties, Derek speaking.

I hang up. I google the number. It leads to this site: www.autowps.com, which is for a company called Automotive Warranty Protection Services

I lookup the domain, autowps.com on Domain White Pages and it shows the site registered to this company: National Dealers Warranty Inc.

According to the St. Louis Better Business Bureau, National Dealers Warranty settled a lawsuit that was filed by the Attorney General of Missouri on March 6, 2008. The settlement included a financial penalty, but required changes in how the company conducts business, including this:

“Offering to sell motor vehicle extended service contracts through the use of automated telemarketing calls unless such calls are administered in full compliance with laws including, but not limited to, Do Not Call regulations and laws at the state and national level.”

Canadian authorities took legal action against this company earlier this year (related article). The Superintendant of Financial Institutions in British Columbia directed National Dealers Warranty and its management to cease operations there (PDF of the order).

The St. Louis Better Business Bureau, which gives the company an “F” rating,  states that people who complained about National Dealers Warranty allege the company “provided poor customer service, used high pressure sales tactics, failed to provide refunds, failed or refused to cancel policies, misrepresented coverage or used misleading advertising.”

The president of National Dealers Warranty is Rudge Gilman.

Here are other names of the company, listed by the BBB and the AG’s office:
Mark Travis – Vice President
Nick Hamilton – Secretary

The BBB also lists Steve Proetz as involved with National Dealers Warranty and he is listed as a co-owner of Automotive Warranty Protection, which I was transferred to by “Angie” when I got the call today and when I was transferred to “Justin”, who appears to be a representativefor that company.

Also, the administrative contact listed on the WhoIs domain search was someone named Travis Summers. I called the number listed for Travis and left a message. He immediately called me back and I asked him if his company engaged in automated dialing. Here’s what he said:

“We used to do it, we haven’t in a month a half.  It’s not paying off…it’s more hassle than it’s worth.”

I got an automated “robocall” today that I linked to the same company. They are still doing it.

Here are additional Phone Numbers for National Dealers Warranty listed by the BBB:
Tel: (800) 436-3185
Tel: (800) 485-1134
Tel: (800) 774-0041
Tel: (800) 701-1063

This was just one call that I got today. It was of a very similar nature to the dozens of calls I have been getting at work at home and on my cell phone since before last December. It is also of a similar nature to all the calls reported online and in the media.

This call alone is a violation of the law because it was an automated call made to a cell phone. That law is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, which is administered by the FCC and the FTC (pdf link to the TCPA).

The FCC also lists facts for consumers about the act, which details the many ways in which these calls violate this law. Among them I found this:

“Some states permit you to file law suits in state court against persons or entities violating the do-not-call rules. You may be awarded $500 in damages or actual monetary loss, whichever is greater. The amount may be tripled if you are able to show that the caller violated the rules willfully and knowingly. Filing a complaint with the FCwC does not prevent you from also bringing a suit in state court”

I think I’ll be looking into what laws New York State permits. $500?

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8 Comments on “I tracked my factory warranty call!”

  1. wcoastpark Says:

    great work! you should submit this to consumerist.com

  2. Aimee fan Says:

    Oh Aimee….a cease and decist order? It is spelled desist sweetie. If you are going to pretend to threaten legal action than you should at least learn how to use spell check.

    I love that someone posted your info! Brilliant!
    It is so cute when dumb scumbag telemarketers try to act tough on the internet. Think about how many people you, DPW and NDW have annoyed. Hah!

    You are a pest.


  3. Wow look at Aimee getting nervous about this. I wonder why? Great that you put your name out there Aimee. Get a real job

  4. NJCompany Says:

    1-800-913-4558. It most certainly is these guys. All the companies I have called said we don’t make outbound calls, however when asking to talk to the manager, the gentlemen was willing to take me off of some list…hmmm. He claims he has no idea. Here is my guess: There is a small 1 or 2 person shop who setup a VoIP calling server in a datacenter somewhere in Canada and these listed auto insurance companies pay the caller company a commission % of whatever calls come in and close. This probably is the reason why no one has stopped them, including the gov; because they can’t find them. And even if they do, they are hosted in Canada.

  5. NJCompany Says:

    I was right! well not about Canada but it is an autodialer server hosted overseas and that’s why we can’t stop them! “Netherlands-based Tele Europe illegally used an auto dialer to reach Verizon Wireless customers.”

    http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2009/04/27/daily26.html

  6. Patricia Says:

    After several attempts, National Dealers Warranty Inc finally “sweet talked” me into purchasing their warranty on December 13, 2007. The downpayment over the phone was $195.00. Then they took $149.89 for the following 18 months. On August 23rd of this year, I brought my car in to the Firestone repair shop near my home for an oil change. On that date, they created a work order for the two front axles and the timing belt and contacted National Dealers Warranty Inc for the authorization to do the repairs. They refused.

    After many attempts to resolve this issue by phone (approximately 30 calls in the ensuing 45 days) and their continued refusal to pay for the repairs, I contacted my credit card company to dispute as many payments as possible. They were able to retrieve the final four payments, $599.

    I also filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (now there’s 333 against the company) and the following day I met with an attorney. They responded to the BBB complaint by first stating that I brought my car to Firestone on Oct. 1, then stating that when I first went into the Firestone repair shop in August, I was told that the protective boot that covers the joint was cracked and was losing grease and that I didn’t get that repaired.

    This is what the original Firestone work order states:

    WORK ORDER #
    076416
    08/23/09 10:33AM
    Half Shaft (Front-Both)
    60-3265 L REMN CV COMPL ASSY $140.90
    60-3266 R REMN CV COMPL ASSY $140.90
    REMOVE & INSPECT F AXLE SHAFT ASSEMBLY – BOTH $170.00
    REPLACE AXLE SHAFT EACH SIDE $25.50 x 2
    TOTAL THIS SECTION $502.80
    ENGINE DIAGNOSTIC SERVICE
    Symptom: Eng:Dash Light On-
    COMPUTERIZED ENGINE ANALYSIS $79.99
    TIMING BELT
    95284 TIMING BELT $46.99
    REMOVE & REPLACE TIMING BELT $226.20
    7027871 FAN BELT $21.99
    335K4 POLY RIB BELT $21.99
    345K4 POLY RIB BELT $18.99
    TOTAL THIS SECTION $416.15. TOTAL $918.95

    They lied to the Better Business Bureau. They also lied when they stated to the BBB that they refunded $599.56. I retrieved it through disputing the charges through my credit card company. They lied when they stated that I brought my car to Firestone on October 1st. They also lied to BBB when they stated that the timing belt is not even covered in the contract.

    Per contract number GKPP007109378, page 3, “Covered Parts”:
    The following is a list of Covered Parts under this Contract (Taxes and fluids needed for authorized repairs are also included): (1) Engine – Engine head(s); engine block; cylinder barrels; timing cover; valve covers(s); oil pain (SIC); dip stick & tube, ONLY if damaged by the failure of an internal, lubricated part. The following internal, lubricated parts: pistons, pins & rings; connecting rods & bearings; crankshaft & main bearings; camshaft, followers & cam bearing; push rods, valves, springs, replaceable guides, seats & lifts; rocker arms, shafts & bushings; TIMING GEAR, chain, tensioners & retainers; eccentric shaft; oil pump. Also covered are the following: TIMING BELT; water pump; intake & exhaust manifolds; turbo charger; engine mounts & cushions; engine torque strut; harmonic balancer; flexplate; idler pulley bearings.
    (3) DRIVER AXLE(S) – Differential house, transaxle housing final drive housing, if damaged by the failure of an internal, lubricated part. All internal, lubricated contained within the housings. Axle shafts, constant vleocity joints (CV); universal joints; drive shafts; locking hubs; locking rings; supports, retainers & bearings. No coverage afforded for clutch assembly or any part thereof.

    So, they took $2900 from me. I retrieved $599.56 through the credit card company. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. I met with an attorney. And, I met with two different television stations in the Greater Cincinnati area, John Matarese, who does his “Don’t Waste Your Money” on WCPO Channel 9 and also with Howard Ain, who does his “Trouble Shooter” segment on WKRC Local 12.

    I have also put this same information on the Ripoff Report today. And, I will find as many other places to tell my story until National Dealers Warranty Inc is embattled in a class-action lawsuit while their income dwindles as the “news” about them spreads.

  7. Patricia Says:

    National Dealers Warranty has amicably and professionally resolved this matter and has refunded the service contract price and paid for my car repair at issue. I am very pleased with the way they handled this matter.


  8. Great post! Maybe you could do a follow up on this topic.

    Coy


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