This particular scam is becoming quite popular because the perpetrators barely skirt the line between fraud and “covering their asses, legally” — or so they hope. Still, no matter how much they cover their asses, the stink of a scam farts through. This is where keeping track of all purchased extended warranty documents comes in really handy: If you hold a warranty of any kind, whether it’s for a vehicle or for an electronic device, KEEP the records where you can consult them quickly. These creeps are counting on you being unorganized, or just too damn busy to check your records. For a while, scammers were sending out bogus domain registration renewal forms, and if you fell for them you’d have renewed your domains into the next millennium. I register and renew all of my domains through my web hosting company, so I never took their bait.
This is what I received in the mail early last month:
Click the image for a larger view.
Click the image for a larger view.
Notice “2ND ATTEMPT” in the upper left hand corner of the mailer? Yep, you guessed it: there has never even been a FIRST attempt — this is only meant to make your palms sweat as you frantically rip open the mailer, keeping you from dismissing it as junk mail…when it basically is junk mail. The scammers also added the usual “Request for immediate action…” blurb, along with citing “obstruction of correspondence” U.S. Mail code TTT.18, intended to further scare the bejesus out of you. (Actually, if anyone is tampering with the mail system, it’s these bozos.) My reaction? Was I scared? Nope, just uber annoyed at this junk taking up space in my Post Office box. As I mentioned earlier, this particular scam’s proliferation is on the rise, and by a plethora of other shady “companies” — just read through this list.
In my case, I have an extended warranty on my 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid administered through the Ford dealership where I initially purchased the vehicle in July of 2010 (I keep the paperwork handy, of course). I still have a year left on the manufacturer’s warranty, then another three years with the extended warranty (and because this is a hybrid vehicle, I have a ten year warranty on the big battery that powers the vehicle’s electric motor). Sorry, dudes, but you’re not going to make any money from me today…or ever.
So, let’s find out a little information about these particular scammers. Even the name has been ‘borrowed’ from a legitimate company. The mailer represents itself as originating from “Automotive Professional Resources.” If you perform a web search you’ll find this innocent company. The REAL Automotive Professional Resources is a consulting company which trains dealership personnel and dealer customer service representatives. The scumbags who sent out this bogus warranty mailer are Automotive Professional Resources LLC, (no doubt a boiler room operation) located in Collinsville, IL — and are not accredited by the BBB (no surprise there).
I couldn’t resist calling these scumbags, after all, they have an 800 number, so what the heck. Someone named “Jenny” answered (after a recording informed me that there were “many callers being helped”…I’ll bet!). “Jenny” chirpily asked for the code located in the upper left hand corner of the mailer. However, after I informed her that I had a warranty far from expiring and that I wanted no further correspondence from them, she started screaming at me: “I HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO DO THAT! I DON’T WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT! LOOK, I ONLY MAKE $8.00 HOUR!…” I swear, it was if I was listening to a clip from the Jerry Springer Show. I tried to interject “MAY I SPEAK TO A SUPERVISOR..?”, but I couldn’t quite surpass her decibel level. Eventually, she did calm down a little, then transferred me to the manager (I forgot his name; I’m sure it was fake anyway). So, I repeated the yadda yadda yadda screed I’d recited to “Jenny.” The slick dude actually attempted (emphasis on attempted) to convince me that I should still purchase an extension of my extended warranty from them anyway. Unbelievable. I then unleashed the Kraken: “Look, I know this is a scam and I’m reporting this bogus mailer to the USPS Fraud Unit, as well as the Illiniois Attorney General’s office.” Mr. Slick Voice replied, “Well, you just go ahead.” Heh. I love it when they call my bluff.
UPDATE: Please read this post for updated information on Automotive Professional Resources LLC.