Fake Vehicle Warranty Renewal Card Confuses Consumers

Reader Jason opened his mail and what did he see? An official looking notice from the “Warranty Notification Department.” Oh no! Was it a recall? The notice had the correct make and year of his vehicle as well as an “owner identification number”, so Jason considered calling, until he remembered the Consumerist:

It was marked as an “IMPORTANT VEHICLE NOTIFICATION” and advised us to call a toll free number and have our current milage available. It warned that this was “DATED MATERIAL” and we needed to “RESPOND IMMEDIATELY”. The return address was from the “Warranty Notification Dept.”

My first thought was just to give them a quick call, but luckily for me your website has made me more leery of things like this. I decided to Google the phone number first. (1-800-376-7044)

What did Jason find? It seems that warranty renewal companies like this have been preying on consumers with official looking notices telling you that you have only hours, hours! to renew your warranty and that include publicly available information obtained from the State Department of Transportation in order to seem more authentic. It’s just a sales pitch! Don’t fall for this! —MEGHANN MARCO

Full Scan Of Warranty Card

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  1. Underpants Gnome says:

    When my warranty was expiring on my old car, I got probably 5-10 of these a week. They’re as bad as the credit card offers and mortgage refinance people.

  2. crayonshinobi says:

    I too am so sick of these deceptive mailings! They try everything to make you open their advertising!

    It would be nice if they could outlaw mailings, but how about at least requiring that advertisements be in bright orange envelopes or something? That way you could toss it out with just a glance!

  3. kerry says:

    This reminds me of the 600,000 “mortgage insurance” pitches we got every week after we bought a condo. They were all made up to look like Important Information About Your Mortgage! but were really just trying to sell us insurance. They had all these creepy details, like who our lender was and our interest rate and how much money we borrowed. Even though we signed a form saying that we did NOT wish to participate in any offers the bank or its affiliates would like to make, I guess the information about our transaction is public enough for every mortgage insurance company on the planet to pounce on and take advantage of. Ugh.

  4. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Yup, I got a bunch of these a while back for my car. They went straight to the trash of course.

    Slightly off topic, but something people should watch out for. Seeing a little “official” note on your front door that says something like..

    Attempted Delivery: Please contact our distribution center to arrange pick-up of your package.

    And when you call the number, they ask for your name, your phone number, your address. And then the sales pitch begins. Happened to a friend of mine, and I was there. We both should have been more suspicious.

  5. Crim Law Geek says:

    I have a general rule regarding junk mail that has served me well: The more “important!, Dated Material!, Tracking#: 12233, Recipient #: 1223, Only to be opened by addressee, Ultra super awesomely confidential” crap written on the envelope, the more likely it is to be bullshit.

    If something where as super important as the envelope makes it seem, it would not have been sent Second Class/ Bulk Mail. Another good sign is something sent bulk mail in an envelope meant to look like a FedEx or Priority Mail envelope.

  6. pestie says:

    I bought my house almost 4 years ago and I still get official-looking come-ons like this offering mortgage insurance, re-financing, equity loans, etc. But my least favorite are the fake domain renewal notices from places like Domain Registry of America. They look like invoices but actually transfer your domains to them, at insane prices. I even get those by fax at the office.

  7. humphrmi says:

    All of the above, and my latest favorite: Cut your mortgage in half! That’s right, by sending 1/2 of your monthly payment every two weeks instead of making your monthly payment, you’ll trim X years off your mortgage! Call us, and for a small monthly fee we’ll do this great thing for you!

    And of course, what they’re doing is charging you a monthly fee to receive your payment and send it to your mortgage company on your behalf. Sometimes they do automatic withdrawals. Whatever. All they do is charge you money for something you can do for less than forty cents: send a payment to your mortgage company.

  8. AlexPDL says:

    Ugh I too have gotten several of these…specially after I registered my (new to me) car. they seem to get the infor from public record depositories. I also get a LOT of official looking “student loan” consolidation offers. They use a seal that looks like the one used byt eh Dept of Treasury. In those instances they seem to get the info off credit reports (like credit card companies do). They trick us into feeling like they are in some sort position of official authority, its sickening.

  9. spanky says:

    That sounds like outright fraud, and should probably be reported to the postmaster.

    I don’t know if it’s true, but I have heard that postmasters are totally badass.

  10. x23 says:

    “I don’t know if it’s true, but I have heard that postmasters are totally badass.”

    according to the lady in my town who wears a life preserver and foil cloths around everywhere … the postmaster in our town is possessed by an alien demon. that probably counts as badass.

  11. Brian D says:

    Just got the same thing in the mail a few days ago. Of course, they must not have been aware that I bought the extended warranty from the dealer.

  12. Ha ha! I received that in the mail two days ago and just laughed, since I don’t own a vehicle.

  13. John Stracke says:

    It would be nice if they could outlaw mailings, but how about at least requiring that advertisements be in bright orange envelopes or something?

    First Amendment violation.

  14. Elara says:

    If you consider that it makes no sense to label mail that’s actually important as such, especially in this age of mail and identity fraud, then it should be pretty obvious that this is a piece of junk mail the second you get it. When was the last time you got a new credit card in the mail labeled “Important!! New Credit Card enclosed! Open Immediately!?” Never, because credit card companies aren’t stupid enough to advertise to thieves that they’re sending you a new credit card.

    Not to mention every last one of these stupid “Your warranty is about to expire” notices has, if you bother to read the fine print on it, a notice that says exactly where it’s from and why you’ve been sent it- and it’s never from your actual warranty company. I learned a long time ago that if you don’t read the fine print, you’re going to get screwed. My husband makes fun of me because I read the fine print on every contract, legal doc, and credit card offer, but I’ve never fallen for any of these mail scams, either.

  15. pdxguy says:

    I don’t know why it is but it seems, at least to me based on the ones I’ve received, that there’s a preponderance of them (scam letters) coming from the state of Florida. Does the warmer weather there breed scam artists analogous to blood-sucking mosquitos breeding in watery pools?

  16. I get offers for auto insurance, and I, too, do not own a car.

  17. JimiG says:

    I received the exact same card recently and threw it away. Mass mail outs are just a fishing expedition.