All those calls about your car’s extended warranty? It was basically just 3 people
Millions of Americans have picked up their phone recently, only to hear an all-too-familiar refrain: “We have been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty.”
Of course, this had nothing to do with any actual warranty.
The calls hope to prey on car owners’ fear of a big repair bill, sometimes persuading them to pay hundreds of dollars for a “warranty” that does not exist.
And they’ve been seemingly inescapable, making frustrated consumers wonder just how extensive this scam operation might be. As it turns out, it was probably the work of a small group of people.
Prosecutors in Ohio have filed suit against three people they say led the operation, accusing them of running a robocall scheme that has made billions of calls over the past four years.
Roy Melvin Cox Jr., Aaron Michael Jones, and Stacey Yim, all of California, are accused of heading the operation in a suit filed by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Officials are seeking just under $10 million in fines. All totaled, 22 people are named as defendants in the complaint, which was filed last month.
Cox and Jones have previously been sued by the Federal Trade Commission for similar robocall practices.
The Federal Communications Commission is supporting the suit, issuing a cease-and-desist letter, ordering telecom carriers to stop letting their networks be used for auto warranty scams.
“Billions of auto warranty robocalls from a single calling campaign. Billions!” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement. “Auto warranty scams are one of the top complaints we get from consumers, and it’s time to hold those responsible for making these junk calls.”
Since that cease-and-desist letter was sent, the amount of “car warranty” calls has fallen 80%, according to YouMail.
The suit alleges the operation flooded consumers with calls to generate leads, many using the “car warranty” angle.
“Our lives are plagued by robocalls like a swarm of flies,” Yost said. “This particular operation prompted more than 1,600 unwanted-call complaints to my office. It’s time to get out the fly swatter.”