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CONSUMER ALERT: Extended warranty scam for car owners

We're tracking a scam alert that targets car owners, where telemarketers call offering an extended warranty that will cover pricey work on your vehicle.

But for many, falling victim to this scam costs them more than any car repair bill.

Eloise Bangert got a call from a telemarketer. The pitch: an extended car warranty.

"I said well I couldn't afford to buy that, and he said 'oh well what is going to happen when something happens to the car, who is going to pay for that' and on and on," said Bangert.

Bangert gave the man her credit card information for a $200 dollar down payment.

"That's where I made the mistake."

She is not alone. Thousands of consumers are bombarded by robo-calls or mailings about car warranties every year. Most of them, authorities say, are completely deceptive.

"Customers or victims thought they were buying an extension of their manufacturer's warranty and reality they were just service contracts," said Dan Taylor, a U.S. Postal Inspector.

What's the difference? A service contract covers just some repairs, versus a warranty underwritten by a car manufacturer.

"The victims did receive a small amount of coverage, but it was nowhere near what they were expecting based on the phone call."

And if consumers try to call for a refund?

"It was frustrating. Every time you try to call, they would never answer to pick up," said Bangert.

Postal Inspectors say anytime you're dealing with a telemarketer, be careful. Ask for details on the refund policy. Get it in writing before any payments are made.

If you're looking for an extended auto warranty, call your car manufacturer.

Also, don't buy additives or a warranty over the phone.


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