‘Car warranty’ scams attract state’s attention
I've been inundated almost daily with scam calls about "your car warranty has expired." I don't have a warranty on my 17-year-old car. But they just call and call. I'm sure they get some suckers to give some money for a new warranty. What can we do?
Answer: The state Office of Consumer Protection is investigating numerous complaints about alleged vehicle warranty scams tied to apparent violations of the federal "Do Not Call" law.
At this point the OCP is trying to sort out the different companies reported by people who received calls related to vehicle service contracts, Executive Director Stephen Levins said last week.
He said the calls are even being made to his office.
Among the names given: National Auto Warranty Services, Warranty Service Center, National Auto Warranty and Warranty Activation Headquarters.
You can file a complaint with the OCP. Call 587-3222 or go online at www.dcca/ocp.
Meanwhile, the Better Business Bureau of Hawaii also received more than two dozen complaints in the first half of March alone. Calls about car warranties were made to numbers listed on the "Do Not Call" registry as well as those that are not, a spokeswoman said.
There also have been reports of companies refusing to identify themselves, then hanging up when the person asked to be removed from their call list. In such cases, no official complaints can be filed with the BBB.
The BBB advises not to give any personal information to an unfamiliar company, "no matter how great the promised 'reward' or whatever the threat."
Don't give any information "even if you are told it is only for 'identification' or 'verification,'" because the information can be used for unauthorized credit card charges or bank account debits, the BBB said.
Try to get the telephone number and address of the business or agency making the call, then report the suspicious call to the BBB. Call 536-6956 or go to hawaii.bbb.org.
Q: I keep seeing trucks driving around town with lumber, pipes, tools and equipment protruding from the back. I thought they had to have red flags as a safety marker if they protruded longer than 3 feet. Is that required by law?
A: There is a state law regarding materials extending beyond the rear of a vehicle, but the applicable length is 4 feet.
Under Section 291-28 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, if a vehicle is carrying any material that extends 4 feet or more beyond the rear of the bed or body of the vehicle, there has to be either a red flag or cloth OR a red light attached at the "extreme end of the load."
A red light would come into play when it's dark out, said Capt. Frank Fujii, spokesman for the Honolulu Police Department.
In that situation, the red light has to be "plainly visible under ordinary atmospheric conditions at least 200 feet from the rear."
During daylight the red flag used has to be "not less than 16 inches square."
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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