Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fight Back against Auto Warranty Telemarketers

Since the end of May, four members of my family have been receiving telemarketing calls from a Nevada number, 702-520-14** They inform us that our vehicle warranty is expired, and that this is our second and final notice. I have this claim memorized because we have received dozens of second and final notices. The telemarketers call our Verizon cell phones, using up cell phone minutes or just causing us hassle to ignore their calls. Their automated messages says to press *1* to speak to a warranty specialist, and some other number (maybe 9?) to be removed from their call list.

Every member of my family who has received these calls on our private cell phones - one carried by a minor - has pressed the number to be removed, yet the calls persist: identical calls at alarming frequency. I think my average is four or five calls a week. Since the automated request didn't work one morning (they called that very afternoon), I pressed one, spoke to a 'warranty specialist' named Leah, and requested that she take my number off their call list. She said she did.

The next day I received another call. My life not revolving around telemarketers, the next time I did anything more than check the caller ID was today. In the mean time, my dad discovered the number was in Nevada, and issued by the phone company, Digitcom Services, Inc. We attempted to return the calls at several of the dozens of numbers from which we received the solicitations, but only received a message saying that they are sorry if we reached their number in error; they only purchase business phone numbers; if we would like our number to be removed from their list, press 1. (Every time you press one, a message tells you your request has been successful.) Mom called Verizon to ask what she could do, and they referred her to the Federal No-Call List, which we were formerly unaware included cell phones. The list allots 30 days at least for companies to cease their sales calls to each number. Fortunately it no longer expires. A friend receiving similar calls reported her apparent success by requesting to speak with the manager and leaving a firm message - though she admitted there was dead air and no introduction to the machine, so she's not sure if she was talking to anyone or not.

When they called this morning, I answered and spoke to Stephanie, requesting to speak to her manager about these harassing phone calls. I also received dead air, spoke all the same, and concluded that she hung up on me. So I went to work. Google is wonderful.

A lot of people have similar experiences, but most of them are relieved to escape from scam artists and phishers, something of which I was never in danger, since I never had a warranty on my car for it to expire. What I want is the calls to stop. They're using my time and cell phone minutes, and are not benefiting in the slightest from bothering me.

The most helpful website I found was this blogger: Joe Levi He spent at least 30 minutes on the phone with them, wary enough to not feed them real information about his car and person. He informed them of some of the relevant federal laws, and asked them if they would be willing to comply. At first the girl said no, basically, so he offered her a second chance to comply. She eventually promised that he would be sent a copy of their no-call list policy as per federal law.

He received something else from:
Stacey R. Scales,
Paralegal, Dealer Services
100 Mall Parkway
Wentzville, Missouri 63385
phone: 1-800-649-1856
fax: 1-800-649-1719.

Also during my reasearch I ran across someone who mentioned this website: http://oneautowarranty.com/contact.html as a place where, as opposed to being sent information about the fine print of the policy, one could find out more details.

The addresses listed on that website match the one given above, and elaborate with phone numbers for various departments. I got ahold of Christina in Customer Service, who informed me that their system, contrary to their message, takes 30-45 days to remove a number from its call list. (There has also been speculation that my number must be removed one at a time from each number that has contacted me, and there are over a dozen.) I told her this was unacceptable, and she was unhelpful in offering any other solutions.

Curious about where this company got my cell phone number and those of my family, I went to the Verizon website, where they continue to say that they do not sell its customer's phone numbers without their permission. Also on their website was a piece of news concerning a lawsuit against an unknown auto warranty telemarketing firm, which had illegally falsified caller ID numbers using a computer system. There have been thousands or millions of complaints.

The article did not include contact information for similar complaints, and the number from which I am being called was not included in the suit. It may be the same company modifying their technique. In some states, and possibly on a federal level, telemarketers are required to identify themselves. The fact that this automated message does not (and the people on the other end are unwilling to give a company name as well) accounts for the company in the lawsuit being unknown. Joe the blogger deserves commendation for discovering so much.

I used a random contact for Verizon to send them an account of my experience.
Verizon,
I noticed on your news page that there has been a lawsuit against a telemarketing company that was harassing Verizon customers - a lawsuit prompted by thousands or millions of complaints from your customers. I have a similar problem, but am uncertain where to complain. The prefix for the number at which the autowarranty telemarketers have been calling my wireless phone is a 702-520-14**, which was not on the list of the lawsuit, though I presume it is the same company. I recognize that the lawsuit's grounds apply only to when the company was employing randomly generated false numbers for caller ID. Is there anything immediate I can do to end these calls? Minutes cost me money. The company, which I believe is Dealer Services out of Wentzville, MO, is harassing me by calling me everyday under false pretenses, disregarding my auto and verbal requests to be removed from their call lists, and offering me a service in which I have no interest.

Where did they get my cell phone number?

Any answers you have on what I can do, or where else to complain, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Some website told me I could file a complaint with the FCC, so I did.
This is what I told them, among other required information (such as four representative examples of dates and times at which I received calls):

I selected the automated number to be removed from the list, and received an affirmative message.
When I received the same call for several days following, I finally tried the auto number again. Received another call that afternoon or next day, so pushed one to talk to Leah about removing my number from their list. She said she did. Received calls after that. Today 6/13 spoke to Stephanie via auto message, requested to speak to manager about harassment: she hung up the phone. Returned call to same number, received message saying they are sorry if I reached the number in error; they only purchase business numbers, if I would like my # to be removed, press 1. Pressed and received affirmative message. Called 800 number from website to speak to customer service. She quoted me 30-45 days to remove from their lists, despite info from auto system. My mom and minor brother have received the same call from same # on their wireless phones, too. We counted over a dozen # 702-520-14**


Power to the people isn't just for politics. If you have the same problem, I recommend you take similar action. My next step is also to complain to their phone company. Dad suggested swamping their phone lines, but I suspect that would be unsuccessful and very temporary. Meanwhile I can, from the testimony of Christina and the FCC, expect these daily calls to cease in about 30 days.

To God be all glory.

15 comments:

kschaub said...

Sheesh, I have never received a call on my cell phone from any company. I really hope no company randomly selects my number!

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Since posting this, I have not received any more phone calls. Something I did that day worked. However, my dad has started to receive a few calls on his cell phone. Maybe if you don't answer at all - even pick up the phone - after a few times they'll give up?

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

Anonymous said...

Hi there. My name is John, and I have been doing some research about the company. The business is National Auto Warranty Services out of Missouri. They are currently being sued by the Attorney General of Missouri. The attorney general wishes that everyone having similar issues with National Auto Warranty Services please file a complaint with the state to help thier lawsuit against the company.

The phone number to file a complaint is 573-751-3321

Ask for the consumer protection division. Good luck!

P.S. I left a message on the company's general manager's voicemail threatening suit if I was called again. I have not had a response or a call as of today.

Anonymous said...

My name is Jim Vandiver. Alot of people are confusing Dealer Services or National Auto Warranty Services in Wentzville, MO with other companies. They do NOT dial outbound to their customers. The best way to figure out who is calling you is to do something like this:

1. Answer the call and play along, act interested.

2. The first person you talk to is likely just screening calls, so agree to speak with a specialist or sales person

3. Go through the sales pitch and tell them you need to call them back with your credit card

4. Get the callback number and post it here, I'll check back over the next few days. I can check as to who the phone number belongs to and verify it with the utility company.

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Jim,
Thanks for posting on my blog and thanks for the help in tracking these people down. I imagine there is confusion of companies if multiple groups do similar recorded messages and none of them identify themselves. Fortunately the legal steps can be taken against any company that is harassing you and not identifying themselves, sending recorded messages to cell phones, etc.

Even if One Auto Warranty isn't dialing outbound to THEIR customers, a telemarketing company representing them is dialing outbound to noncustomers. One Auto Warranty confirmed that they do telemarketing and have a do not call list (which takes 30-45 days to work) when I spoke with them the day I wrote my original post.

My other blog, Lisa of Longbourn (on Wordpress) has this identicle article with many more comments where people posted the phone number from which they received calls. http://lisaoflongbourn.wordpress.com/2008/06/14/fight-back-against-auto-warranty-telemarketers/

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

Schifrin said...

The warranty services phone number is 800-913-4558. I have a business with four lines. What a Pain. They also gave me a fake web address! Call them up and waste some of there time!!!

Anonymous said...

National Dealership Services....www.ndsofamerica.com


calling from multiple spoofed numbers and 800#'s, they will leave a msg on your cell phone also. additionally this company claims to be with the manufacturer...be careful!

Jim said...

Hey Schifrin, is it possible that you could post that website or maybe post the name of the company?

Anonymous said...

All of that is about to change. I use to work in the Mall, then one day I was told not to come in. We left the job site and haven't been back since. I think they must have filed chapter 11. Hopefully they were smart enough to stock pile their money overseas. Chances are they will just find another investment partner who could start up another warranty company...Then they will be right back to screwing little old ladies out of their retirement for their personal gain. God Bless America!

Anonymous said...

I just got a call from these idiots. Finding this info was quick, and got me to the missouri consumer protections complaint department quickly. They instructed me to file a complaint online at:
http://ago.mo.gov/consumercomplaint.htm

I did this (very quick, very easy).

The Missouri gov. operator who gave this to me said there's MANY complaints against this company.

These people should be stopped, and put in jail. They should be barred from doing business in this country. This is predatory, and illegal activity. I have been on the do not call list since it started. But. Verizon I think is selling our numbers, because in the past 3 months, for the first time, I'm getting telemarketer calls. Sigh.

Digitcom said...

Dear Lisa: We are sorry about this major inconvenience. We, unfortunately feel just as sullied, as you feel harassed. Digitcom is a telephone carrier that simply sells phone cards and provides phone numbers to retail and wholesale customers. The wholesalers take those numbers and provide them to their own customers who tend to be telemarketers. Digitcom has not placed any calls to your number; it does not do any telemarketing or sell any products such as car insurance. Only the wholesaler’s customers are calling you and others.

We have created a webpage http://didcheck.digitcom.net for you to enter the offending number and your number so that you can obtain the contact information on the wholesaler who is using that number and complain directly to them.

We are eager to help people like you have their issues resolved by wholesalers and have set up our own email address NOC@digitcom.net so that people making complains to them can also copy us and we can try and make sure they are following up on your problem. Again, sorry for your problems. Digitcom

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Thank you for your help, Digitcom!

My intention in including the name of your company was not to pass blame to you, but to give all available information on the telemarketers.

I appreciate your willingness to help.
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

Anonymous said...

I've asked to be removed multiple times. Asking for a supervisor doesn't work, and I've been hung up on several times.

So I'm thinking I'm going to get an air-horn, like the ones people bring to ball games, and when I get the call I'm going to press one to get to a live person and use it.

Perhaps these people will stop working for someone they know is scamming, and then we won't have any problem anymore?

If not, it might make me feel better...

::grumble::

Lisa of Longbourn said...

I repeat. PLEASE do NOT use your phone to harm people. Do NOT blow an air horn over the phone. Hang up. Be civil. Complain to the authorities. Raise awareness so that no one on earth will give these people business, and they will stop calling.

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

PS: They haven't called me since this summer. There's hope.

Telemarketing services said...

Telemarketers are all over. Everyone can be a victim. I am so glad that I still don't receive calls from those telemarketers. I like your post.