Don’t Fall For This One

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People are – understandably – terrified of any correspondence that looks like it’s from the government since it usually means something bad and something you can’t avoid. Scammers have glommed on to people’s fear of anything official looking and are using it to trick people into opening crap correspondence they’d otherwise just trash without even looking at.

So when an official-looking envelope arrives from the Vehicle Notification Department – and an IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO THIS NOTICE  is staring at you in all caps bold-faced type – well, one tends to give it a second look at least.

Which is about all it’s worth – if that.

The “Vehicle Notifications Department” is in fact a shystery extended warranty outfit – AutoAssure, LLC – looking to cash in on people’s fear of Uncle (first) and catastrophic car repairs (second).

Their “records indicate” that I “have not contacted (them) to have the vehicle service contract for your vehicle uploaded” – whatever that is meant to mean. It seems to mean they want me to buy an extended warranty from them, though it is interesting that their “records” have no actual record of my vehicle, not even its make.

They have a “record” of my name and address – nothing more.

Well, that – and the possibility that I have a pulse and possibly a wallet and might be fool enough to fall for their scam.

“By neglecting to replace my coverage,” the letter advises, I will be “at risk of being financially liable for any and all repairs after (my) factory warranty expires.”

Well, for openers, I have no coverage to “replace” as my truck is 17-years-old and the factory warranty expired sometime around 2005. And I figure I am going to “liable” for every repair it needs since that’s generally the way the world works – unless of course you’re a government-connected mafia and then you can force someone else to be “liable,” but that’s another rant.

“However” – the letter becomes conciliatory – I “still have time to activate (my) service contract . . . before it’s too late.”

Of course.

And then, not so conciliatory: “Your file on this vehicle,” it intones –  you know, the one they don’t mention, by name or make or model or year and so clearly have no “record” of – “will be deleted” (cruel world!) and I “may no longer be eligible for this offer regarding vehicle service coverage after 01/2/2019.

All in bolded type.

In much smaller type – at the bottom of the page – one finds the following interestingly illiterate paragraph:

“You may have been selected” (wait a minute, I have the letter; doesn’t that mean I have been selected?)  . . .”to receive this special limited time offer from AutoAssure, LLC because of the make and model of (my) vehicle.”

Really? The “make and model” these shysters have no “record” of?

Am I just that special?

“Final acceptance is subject to (my) eligibility to meet our full eligibility requirements” …

Someone, please call a copywriter. Stat.

One presumes this “eligibility” amounts to having an IQ low enough to call 1-877-917-568 (Do it now! Before it is Too Late!) and provide a credit card to be vacuumed for “Platinum” or “Gold” coverage.

Then we get to the legal nitty gritty:

“This is an advertisement to obtain coverage” – you mean, as opposed to “AN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO THS NOTICE,” as on the envelope, to terrify the prospective mark? If more in that department is needed, the letter’s flip side is plastered with a roster of horrors which are formatted to resemble a bill – to further impart the message, deep in the mark’s psyche:

Under “billing date” for my “account” I find listed a $495.60 charge for a water pump (these generally cost about $150) and $563.40 for an electric power window motor (which might cost that much if you have a Lexus or BMW but for most cars half or less that sum) and about a dozen other overpriced unlikely eventualities – any of them almost certain to cost you much less than the cost of the “coverage” offered by the “Vehicle Notification Department.”

Which (more very fine print, at the very bottom of the second page) turns out is actually a  “d/b/a  of AutoAssure, LLC . .. which in turn is the “administrator/Obligor” (there’s a new one) of United Car Care, Inc., or Enudrance Dealer Services.

Better Call Saul.

Better yet, just toss it in the trash. These “notices” are literally not worth the paper they’re written on and the same can be said for the offers contained therein.

Legitimate extended warranties don’t purvey themselves this way –  unsolicited in the mail, looking like a letter from Uncle.

May the Vehicle Notifications Department dine on fish heads, served cold, for all eternity.

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. The one’s which I find particularly offensive are those with a symbol that looks remarkably similar to that of a US government seal. I phoned the first one to let them know that I wasn’t interested. They weren’t interested in my position so I ended up talking with them for over an hour. I was out working in the garden at the time so it was no sweat off my back to waste their time. The sad fact is that there must be a few thousand of these outfits trying to pull this stunt because I still get these things a few times a month. None of them are the same or repeat notices.

    I recently found a car that had gone through a minor flood. It was only a few years old, but needed to have its title rebuilt. They were practically giving it away for just a few thousand dollars. There’s the best insurance policy one could ever want, and it was less than the policy these shysters were offering me for one year of coverage.

    Mark my words, this is far from the end of it. They will soon be offering routine maintenance which will have the same effect all other insurance lending scams have in raising the price to what most will not be able to afford anymore.

  2. You should see the ones I’ve been getting. They’ll have year, make and model and sometimes more. But they are for my newest car. The other ones are far too old.

  3. I’m in marketing, although B2B and not B2C [business to consumer], but when I get the call I will talk to someone (and waste as much of that person’s time as possible, as I won’t buy anything), unless there is an opt out/DNC option in the automated introduction [SEE: HOOK]

    As far as something in the mail? Those go in the same place as the census forms that threaten prison. And then I have a nice day.

    • Excellent, Jim – same here, especially as regards the loathsome Census. I had to shoo away a Census-taking (and tax-feeding) Census Frau the last go ’round… she made three attempts, each one causing me to become less and less civil until she finally got the message.

      • One adult male citizen.
        One adult female citizen.
        Goodbye, that is all you ever need to know per the Constitution.

        • Absolutely!

          I’ve been through the census more times than I want to think about and never give the parasites any information beyond how many adults live in the house.

          (I tried to put a link to an informative site that addresses the census issue, but the link keeps getting rejected here as possible spam. The site for anyone interested is “CensusFacts Dot Info”.)

          • The best site of all, is Uncle’s own census propaganda site! The one that assures you of how they will “guard your privacy”, and then in the very next paragraph, they state how the “data will be used to help bring you programs and services which your information indicates may be of use to you and for which you may qualify” [paraphrasing- but close!]

            • It’s what Orwell termed “Doublethink” – holding two contradictory beliefs as true at the same time. One of the few things that politicians and bureaucrats excel at.

              War is peace. Freedom is slavery Ignorance is strength. We will guard your privacy. Doubleplusgood!

  4. I used to carry a Trac Fone, but now have an Iphone and regular cell phone plan. Ended up keeping the Trac Fone for junk phone calls. The only people who have my real cell phone number are my family and close friends. Same with email addresses: one for junk, one for real stuff. Man, if only I had a “junk house” to collect all the junk email! (I suppose I could get a PO box, but there’s no way to have all the junk go there…)

    • I have a Trac-fone. Just a Trac-fone. 3 or 4 people have my number, but it’ll do them no good*, as I don’t even turn the damn thing on, except for the one or two occasions a year when I need to make a call when I’m out. I’ve had it for so long, that my phone became obsolete and would no longer work on their network….so they sent me a new-fangled one (looks like a smart phone) for free! Hwy, when you’re paying what amounts to $6 a month for phone service, ya expect quality! [$9.99 airtime card with a One Year Of Service upgrade for $55)

      [*=I do regular phone communications via landline]

  5. YMMV but I have been using ‘Mr.Number’ for Android for years. Never had an unwanted call get through and it does keep a record you can review to see if you missed something important.

    Note that I keep nothing private or financial on my phone, so if they are skimming info, they get nothing of value from me.

    There are some complaints about functional changes on the website but I have had no issues. Would recommend.

    • Similar bastards robocall me every week for a car I no longer possess. The DNC list doesn’t work when you’re dealing with crooks.

      • Heh, that’s what I do with telemarketers when I have the time. Pretend I’m interested; ask a bunch of questions; belch and fart into the phone (About 90% of them will remain undaunted, if you wait till they have some time invested in the call!)….and then when they get to the part where they say “So, if you’ll just give me your credit card number”, I say “Nah, not interested” and hang up.

        Sometimes I’ll do a Habib accent, to waste even more time, making believe I can’t understand them, and making them speak very slowly; and making like I’m searching for words…

        I gotta start recording some of these convos and putting them on Youtube- I’m more entertaining than the ones currently on there…

        Telemarketer:”Do you currently work outside the home?”
        “Habib”: “No, I work in an office. I used to work outside the home; selling shish-kebob on the sidewalk in front of my apartment!”

  6. Hey Eric, I’ll take any of those cars in the title picture!

    I keep telling my 94 year-old mother that she should send in the paperwork every few weeks when she receives junk mail from AAA wanting her to join! (No need to mention that she’s never owned a car in her life, and only ever drove one briefly in the early 1950’s….).

    I really wish the Post Office would just go away. All they do anymore is deliver junk mail- and they’re losing money doing that! They’re obsolete- and ANNOYING! If the P.O. were a private bidness, they would’ve been gone long ago.

    Talk about anti-Libertarian! The P.O. is the only government entity that I have contact with on a frequent basis…..they stop in front of my home 6 days a week, filling my mailbox with LITTER. They just can’t leave us alone!

    • Morning, Nunz!

      I wouldn’t mind the junk mail if that were the means of funding the PO, or defraying some of the costs of postage. It would then be a kind of voluntary tax (I know, the use of the word “tax” in a voluntary context is absurd, but just for the sake of discussion) like motor fuels taxes – which are really contributions, because no one is forced to pay them.

      • Ha! True, Eric. It would still be annoying, having your mailbox littered with all them messy fliers, with papers everywhere…but it would be a lot more tolerable if it were paying the bills; but the way it is now, where they’re essentially subsidizing the junk, because the P.O. is losing billions a year (And where’s the money coming from to make up that deficit???) is just criminal.

        I agree though- excise taxes are the only taxes which are really fair.

    • Yeah, that’s one great big nationwide scam, all the socialized medicine crybabies fell for, the other one was “Cash for Clunkers”. Selfishness and greed get people every time.

  7. I’de say the most enjoyable was to abuse them most foully in a very calm and relaxed voice.
    That or present to have Tourette’s syndrome.
    Come to think of it, I’ve not had an opportunity to do this for a long time.

    • I usually just play along and waste their time until they want payment for whatever “services” they are offering. Then I calmly state that I know they’re running a scam and am just yanking their chains to have a little fun at their expense. It’s always rewarding when they yell curses in some incomprehensible foreign babble and hang up.

  8. It is illegal to make a phone call to harass, insult or threaten someone.
    HOWEVER, If you receive an unsolicited phone call there is no law covering what you can say.
    I insult, threaten, abuse them with the most foul language you can imagine. I threaten to find them etc. etc.
    Great fun and a good way to get out any bottled up hostility.
    When I first started doing this, once a friend was over he could not believe it. But there is no law governing what you can say to an unsolicited caller.

  9. I get scamming text, scamming letters in the mail, and scamming phone calls to no end. The latest phone scam happens usually in the Winter. You get a phone caqll telling you your power bill is overdue and that someone is on their way over to cut your electricity in 2 hours! Of course these is an immediate pay option via a 1-800 number. And people actually fall for this out of fear of freezing to death from the cold, because they are do dis organised, really don’t even know their bill situation. Fear and panic are theses scammers’ tools; don’t ever fall for phone, text, or mail threats. The important thing is to KNOW where you stand on your financial obligations, and who are your legitimate providers, otherwise you are running blind through a mine field!

    • Of course, the really irresponsible people out there just dodge paying ANY bills, and so the bills that are legit are the ones they end up in court for,lol! Unfortunately, those people often have their electricity, water, and other utilities suspended several times a year, as well as car insurance and license plates.
      My parents got each of us kids small filing cabinets, about the size of a nightstand, and file folders, when we turned 15 or 16. Training kids to be responsible CAN be relatively inexpensive, and it doesn’t take cell phones and GPS trackers to do it either!

  10. Junk mail that includes a postage paid return envelope with THEIR address printed on the envelope…I sometimes enjoy placing a small note inside the envelope with something like “eat me” scribbled, and sending it back.

    I’ve wasted maybe 25 cents of their money in postage and labor dealing with my response, but I feel so much better.

    • I used to do this to political requests for money. I’d fill out their forms and send them back telling them the myriad reasons I wouldn’t donate a thimble full of piss to the RNC, etc., etc.

      • I no longer give to my college since they stopped showing White males in their alumni magazine.

        Don’t give me that “glorious mosaic” bullshit. Most of your students are still White males. It’s an engineering school.

        • The engineering school I went to always tried to show girls in the propaganda. In my time there it was to mislead guys into thinking there were girls on campus in much greater number than reality. Now it’s probably SJW BS.

      • Ha, BB! I’ve done that- but with enough metal (Pennies; old rusty washers; pieces of rusty scrap) to get the old postage scale up to a few ounces. That postage-paid scheme actually costs them much more than regular first-class postage. Doesn’t take much to make that envelope of “donated goodies” cost them $2 in postage.

  11. Eric, you are on target. Anyone who contacts you in this way using this language is a fake and a phony. I shred these letters but wonder how they get my name and address? Guess there is no way to stop it.

  12. I don’t mind the letters, they go to the trash unopened but somehow these a-holes got my cell number and cal 2-3 times a day, I block the numbers but they have hundreds or rolling caller ID’s they use so it is almost never from the same number.
    The “Press 2 to be removed from our call list” does not work.
    I even answered it a few times and told them directly to stop calling, to no avail. It is getting annoying. I’d rather no go crying to big brother, but this is getting ridiculous.

      • Interesting. I use Jolly Roger on my landline but not on my cell because I am worried they will filter out legitimate business calls. I will check it out

    • iOS on T-Mobile has a “block caller” button on the history that seems to help. But the problem is the phone system was never designed for free phone calls and Google Voice-like services.

    • The street-shitters call me several times a day, offering to lower my credit card rate. I lead them on until they get pissed off. If I’m lucky, I can call them “benchods” before they hang up.

      BTW, pressing “3” will put you on a suckers list.

      • Yeah, pressing any number when prompted, just gets you on the “This line is active/good number” list. I heard that laying on the # sign will make ’em think they’ve reached a fax line, and purge the number. Currently trying that out. Too soon to tell.

        My phone company started offering a robo-call blocking service. I signed-up for it. Started getting MORE calls; calls I had never gotten before. I discontinued the blocking service, and things went back to normal.

        A lot of these scam calls lately are coming from Jamaica. Love it when I get one of them, and can tell by the caller’s voice….I always make sure to call them “nigger” as many times as possible before they hang up. It’s good for the soul.

        • Lately I’ve been getting the police charities calling.
          Back in the 1990s one of them did the ‘shame if something should happen’ thing over the phone to me to convince me to donate. Um no.

          • I’d always tell the pig charities “I wouldn’t piss on a cop if he were on fire”. Didn’t seem to deter them. Last few ones, I’d just start screaming at them “DON’T CALL ME YOU *&%^%% )(*&&^^ PIGS!!!! (*(&^%^ &^%%% 89*&*&^”. Seems to be working.

                • Actually the phone guys are usually not oinkers, they are professional fundraisers hired by the oinkers, and they take a chunk of whatever comes in. Usually they start out their pitch with some kind of really stupid attempt at cop humor and then laugh at it themselves as though that’s going to get you in a good mood. I just say “You have got to be fucking kidding me” and hang up.

  13. I’ve received these referring to specific cars I’ve owned in the past. Not my current automobile of course. My guess is they got my information from some public database or possibly Audi sold my information to a mail marketing firm.


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