How is this legal? In the mail today we received an official-looking computer-printed card which screamed “important.” It had words like “2ND ATTEMPT,” and “REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION – TIME SENSITIVE MATERIAL ENCLOSED,” and “TO BE OPENED BY ADDRESSEE ONLY. PLEASE RESPOND WITHIN FIVE DAYS.” It was addressed to the prior owner of this home – the guy who moved out almost five years ago. I was considering forwarding it to the prior owner until I saw that it was mailed “presorted std. mail,” meaning bulk rate. Thus it wasn’t as important as it first looked.
Inside I saw what appeared to be a bill. The top read “IMPORTANT: NOTIFICATION THAT YOUR FACTORY WARRANTY MAY BE EXPIRING OR EXPIRED BASED ON TIME OR MILES. CALL 1-877-638-4584 AND SPEAK WITH A VEHICLE COVERAGE SPECIALIST.” Then “*** TIME SENSITIVE – PLEASE ACT NOW ***” It was kind enough to say “this is not a bill” below that.
In the “comments” section, it read: THIS LETTER IS TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR FACTORY WARRANTY MAY BE EXPIRED OR IS ABOUT TO EXPIRE BASED ON TIME OR MILES. IF IT HAS EXPIRED YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING FOR ANY REPAIRS. YOU HAVE THE OPTION OF CONTINUING TO PROTECT YOUR VEHICLE BEYOND THE FACTORY WARRANTY. PLEASE RESPOND TO THIS OFFER NO LATER THAN 12/07/12.”
In very small print at the bottom it reads: “You may have been selected to receive this coverage offer because of information in your consumer report or other data. Final acceptance is subject to your ability to meet our full eligibility requirements. This is an offer for a motor vehicle service contract. Not affiliated with the dealer or manufacturer. Autocare, 1311 N. Plano Rd., Richardson, TX, 75081.”
This kind of scare tactic is in a similar vein to the car warranty scam phone calls I documented here in 2007 to 2009. These shady companies contact unsuspecting folks with alarming phone calls and mailings, trying to trick them into thinking that the world is going to end if they don’t buy this overpriced vehicle service plan (VSP). I hate that there are lots of people out there who will fall for this: people who can’t afford to be ripped off by these jerks.
I will forward this on to the North Carolina Attorney General’s consumer protection office so that they’re aware of this particular scam.