The auto service contract companies are at it again, this time using a phony "review" site to persuade customers to call about the contracts, often marketed as "extended warranties" for their vehicles, the Better Business Bureau warns.
The company operates as Automotive Service Protection, and the review site in question is CarProtectionReviews.com.The BBB found that the review site, which calls itself a third-party consumer advocacy group, listed just three vehicle service contract companies: Automotive Service Protection, Repair Service Plan Dealer and My Direct Protect. All three have offices in the same south St. Louis County complex.
Automotive Service Protection, owned by Joshua Freeman, operates out of an office near Lindbergh Boulevard and Interstate 55. The BBB was alerted to the company's deceptive marketing by two former employees, who said they left the company because of the practices.
Greg Laptevsky of New York operates CarProtectionReviews.com.
Read the BBB's news release about the companies online.
The BBB has been investigating the auto service contract industry for more than seven years. The BBB worked with state and federal agencies in the investigation of US Fidelis, a defunct St. Chales County firm. The founders of US Fidelis were convicted of fraud charges and have been sentenced to prison terms.
The BBB has received thousands of complaints about the vehicle service contract business in recent years. Tips for consumers considering such contracts include:
- Be cautious of websites or marketing materials that purport to rank auto service contract firms. The sites may be no more than a marketing gimmick for companies linked to the firms.
- Do not be pressured to make a quick decision. Beware of solicitors who say their deal is available for a limited time only.
- Make sure you obtain and read service contracts before buying them. The coverage you are buying depends on that contract, not on oral promises from a salesperson.
- Check with a trusted mechanic to determine whether the contract will cover the repairs you are likely to need.
- Check any company's BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.