Robocallers have been relentless since Coronavirus sent the world into paralytic shock. Among inane bogus threats and promises, some people receive calls from companies offering extended warranties for their cars, presumably in the name of preventative maintenance. While this may warrant an angry hang-up from most unsuspecting citizens, one took matters into his own hands and fought back. Nathan Rowan decided to take drastic measures to find out where his robocalls were coming from and did the unthinkable.
Biting the extended warranty bullet
Rowan had been receiving calls on his personal phone since January 2021 from robocallers trying to sell extended warranties for his vehicle. In April, he’d had enough and decided to go undercover and bought the extended warranty. After forking over the payment, Rowan apparently found out how to reach the company and got a name. The company is called US Dealer.
What’s the deal with US Dealer?
US Dealer has built quite a reputation for itself on Better Business Bureau, under ‘US Dealer Services’. Located in Van Nuys, California, US Dealer was accredited in 2017 and has 114 complaints lodged against it. Most of these complaints are from customers who all say the same thing. They received 5-6 calls every day and requested removal from the call list. However, to its credit, US Dealer replied to each complaint acknowledging the inconvenience and said they’d place the customers on their Do Not Call List. Rowan apparently went through the same thing but was still receiving calls. This as it turns out, is the same for multiple victims.
US Dealer faces class-action lawsuit
Nathan Rowan filed a class-action lawsuit against US Dealer for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In a nutshell, the TCPA prohibits automated calls to any emergency line, guest room, patient in a hospital, or any phone service that costs money to a customer. This includes cell phones, pagers, and mobile radios. It also prohibits calls to residential lines. Judging from its BBB page, US Dealer appears to be participating in illegal activity, by robocalling phones on the Do Not Call List.
US Dealer Services claims innocence
All of this is fairly damning. US Dealer Services started accruing its hate mail on its BBB page in 2019, and duly issued a statement. It then abandoned its domain of usdealerservices.com for a .net suffix, stating it had received misdirected criticism. It also claimed some entity was masquerading as US Dealer Services, robocalling customers on a Do Not Call List pestering to purchase extended warranties. Us Dealer Services offered $5,000 for any information leading to the culprits.
What’s next for the lawsuit
If the class-action lawsuit is successful, TCPA violations can cost as much as $1,500 per call. Us Dealer Services needs proof that the fraudulent entity is participating in what was called illegal marketing practices and abrasive sales tactics. If it is innocent, then it may take a lot more work than a public statement and a $5,000 reward to rebuild its reputation.