CHICAGO, Illinois — Last week, a federal judge issued a pair of temporary restraining orders aimed at putting an end to the rogue telephone solicitations for extended auto warranties. Described by FTC officials as “robo-calls,” two companies set their war-dialing computers into action and began randomly dialing millions of homes, businesses, and cell phones with a prerecorded message that the consumer’s auto warranty was about to expire together with an offer to buy a new extended service plan. While the pitch sounded official enough, the jig was up when many people, some who did not even own a car and others who were on the national “do not call” list, began to complain to the FTC.
In an effort to stop the perpetrators, the FTC filed suit against the two companies they believe are responsible for an estimated 1 billion such random and automated warranty calls. The suit also asked the Court to freeze the assets of the two companies and also named several of the companies top executives as defendants.
These telemarketing calls were so voluminous and being made without discretion and in conscious disregard of the national Do Not Call registry that the FTC was forced to take immediate action and seek the restraining orders.
U.S. District Judge John F. Grady issued the temporary restraining order against Transcontinental Warranty, Inc. and its CEO/President Christopher Cowart. The second company, Voice Touch, Inc., was also restrained from making any further robo-calls as were its executives James Dunne and Maureen Dunne, and the company’s business partner Network Foundations, LLC, and its executive, Damian Kohlfeld. All robo-callers extraordinaire.
In addition to ordering a halt to the automated calls, the Court also granted the FTC’s request to freeze the assets of the two companies. The FTC has alleged that these calls were part of a deceptive scheme and that the assets should be preserved to repay consumers who might have been victimized.
“Today the FTC has disconnected the people responsible for so many of these annoying calls … We expect to see a dramatic decrease in the number of deceptive auto warranty calls, but we are still on high alert,” said Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz from a written statement.
Attorneys for Transcontinental and Voice Touch could not be reached for comment but Network Foundations’ attorney, Adam Solomon, said the company “is not engaged in the conduct alleged in the complaint.” But of course not.