'We're calling about your car warranty' and phone scams that drive you nuts (2024)

By Samantha Christmann

Hi, I'm here to talk to you about your car's extended warranty.

Actually, I'm here to talk to you about the phone call you get every day about your car's extended warranty.

The car warranty scam has been going around for years, but it has really revved up lately.

It goes like this: You get a call saying your car warranty is about to expire, but that you can pay a little extra to extend it. It might sound like it's coming from your dealership or another reputable company associated with it. The caller might even have information about the year, make and model of your vehicle.

They might even be selling a real product. That product would be a service contract that costs a ton, covers nothing and is impossible to collect. Or, they might just be trying to straight up steal your money or your identity.

They might tell you to press zero for an operator. You might do it so you can ask the operator to stop calling you. They might tell you to press one to be taken off their call list. That will sound like an attractive option, as well.

But, if you press any buttons, the robocallers will know they've hit a "live" number. They'll call you more often. And they'll resell your number over and over to other deadbeats because they've established that you're a hot lead.

Of course, this robocalling nonsense is old news to you by now. You probably already know you should hang up the second you know who is calling. And most of you realize you shouldn't have picked up the phone in the first place.

You've learned by now not to answer calls from numbers you don't recognize. And you've learned that calls that seem to come from places you do recognize – the police station, your credit card company, someone from your area code – are likely spoofed on your caller ID to disguise their real origin.

The car warranty calls are just part of an unending, infuriating stream of telemarketing scams and schemes.

The good news is that the number of people falling prey to scams has fallen, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The bad news is that the ones who are taken, are being taken for more money. The median loss per victim last year was $700.

For the most part these days, the problem isn't so much avoiding the scams themselves, but avoiding the annoying phone calls.

Many of us got rid of our landline phones when robocalls started outnumbering real ones. But now they get us on our cellphones, too. And many scams have made the jump to text messaging. (Pro tip: If someone texts you a link, don't click it!)

So what can you do? The advice hasn't changed much, but it doesn't hurt to repeat it.

Register your phone numbers with the Do Not Call List by calling 1-888-382-1222. It won't make a huge difference because scammers don't care about rules. But it might cut down on some legitimate solicitors.

If you have an iPhone, you can set it up to silence any numbers you don't recognize. You'll still get notified that the call came in, and the caller will still be able to leave a voicemail, but you won't have to deal with the interruption. Just go to your settings, tap "phone" and then select "silence unknown callers."

Not all Android phones allow call silencing, but you can block numbers that call repeatedly on both iPhone and Android. The process can be different from one Android phone to another. In some models, you'll hold your finger over the phone number in your call log, then select "block number." In other models, you can go into the phone's settings, then click "call blocking" and either select which number you want to block or key a phone number in.

Of course, that doesn't help when a scammer calls from a different spoofed phone number every time. So you can also select certain spam filters under your caller ID settings. That way, your phone's caller ID will flash a warning when a phone number is suspected spam.

Good luck out there, folks. May all your phone calls be from loved ones.

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'We're calling about your car warranty' and phone scams that drive you nuts (2024)


Why do I keep getting spam calls about car insurance? ›

If you own a vehicle and a phone, you may receive calls from scammers posing as representatives of a car dealer, manufacturer or insurer telling you that your auto warranty or insurance is about to expire. The call will include some sort of pitch for renewing your warranty or policy.

Why am I getting mail about my car warranty? ›

Verify with the manufacturer if you receive a letter, postcard, or phone call informing you that your car's express warranty is soon to expire. It could be a fraud involving a car warranty. Do not call the number on any letter or postcard you receive, even if it appears to be from the manufacturer.

How do I cancel my auto warranty? ›

Find the paperwork for your policy to see whom to contact and if there's a cancellation fee. If you recently bought the extended warranty and don't yet have the contract, call the finance manager who sold it to you. For third-party warranties, you might need to call or write a letter to the company. Be firm.

Why do car warranties keep calling me? ›

This is an illegal robocall and likely a scam. 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.

Are car warranty letters legit? ›

Letters. Scammers might also send a physical letter about an extended warranty. It may address you by name and include official-looking company information. However, if it asks you to send personal information to a specific address or number, it's likely a scam.

How to stop insurance spam calls? ›

The National Do Not Call Registry helps you reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive. Stop unwanted sales calls by registering your phone number: Online: Visit DoNotCall.gov. By phone: Call 1-888-382-1222 or TTY: 1-866-290-4236.

How do I block insurance companies from calling me? ›

Adding Your Number to the Registry

Go to DoNotCall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the phone you want to register. It's free.

How to block spam calls? ›

Block individual numbers on Android

Open the Phone app, select Recents, and tap the avatar of the caller you want to block. Tap the three-dot icon in the top right and select Block numbers.

How do I verify my car warranty? ›

Write down the VIN and your mileage. Then, contact a local dealer and provide this information to see if the car is under warranty. You can also use your manufacturer's website if it offers warranty tracking information or check your car's sale paperwork for its in-service date.

What happens if you don't register your warranty? ›

If you haven't filled in a return card on a manufacturer's guarantee. You should've filled in a registration card and sent it back to the manufacturer. If you haven't, your guarantee may not be valid - try looking for a contact number on the guarantee, and get in touch. You might also be able to register online.

What happens if car warranty is not honored? ›

If the seller of the warranty does not deliver the performance promised in the warranty, the buyer may sue the seller for breach of contract; California Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA): The CLRA comprises laws that offer protection to consumers.

Can a dealer refuse to cancel an extended warranty? ›

When a car buyer decides they want to cancel a warranty, but the dealer refuses to cancel the extended warranty, the customer has legal rights. Buyers have the right to cancel an extended warranty they pay for. Whitney, LLP's lawyers deal with car dealership problems for buyers who were lied to and need help.

Do you get a refund if you cancel your car warranty? ›

If you opt to cancel the extended warranty within the flat cancellation period, you will get a FULL refund. Typically, the extended warranty flat cancellation period is 30 to 60 days after the date of purchase.

Are there any federal laws that regulate warranties? ›

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is the federal law that governs consumer product warranties. Passed by Congress in 1975, the Act requires warrantors of consumer products to provide consumers with detailed information about warranty coverage.

How do I stop auto phone calls? ›

Some Android devices also allow you to block all unknown callers. While the process varies among different devices, you typically open the Phone app and go to the Settings menu. Find the option for blocking numbers and activate the feature. You can also manually add phone numbers that you want blocked.

How do I stop getting extended warranty mail? ›

You can sign up with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) to eliminate many kinds of mailings. The FTC said doing so will stop most, but not all, promotional mail, and the organization says it will stop about 80% of unwanted mail. Pay a $4 processing fee and your registration will last for 10 years.

What happened to the extended warranty calls? ›

The Federal Communications Commission issued a $300 million fine - it's largest ever - against a robocall operation offering extended vehicle warranties. The FCC earlier had devised a plan with cell phone companies to block five billion of the unwanted calls, according to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

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