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Judge acts to stop deceptive ‘robo-calls’



Published: Sat, May 16, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge has issued two temporary restraining orders designed to stop what officials describe as a wave of deceptive “robo-calls” warning people their auto warranties are expiring and offering to sell them new service plans.

“Today the FTC has disconnected the people responsible for so many of these annoying calls,” Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz said Friday.

“We expect to see a dramatic decrease in the number of deceptive auto warranty calls, but we are still on high alert,” Leibowitz said in a statement posted on the agency’s Web site.

The FTC filed suit against two companies and their executives Thursday, asking a federal court in Chicago to halt a wave of as many as 1 billion automated, random, prerecorded calls and freeze the assets of the companies.

Officials say the calls have targeted consumers regardless of whether they have warranties or even own cars and ignore the Do Not Call registry. They say telemarketers have misrepresented service agreements consumers have to buy for warranties that come with the price of the car.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., had asked for an FTC investigation into what he described as the scam of “robo-dialer harassment.”

“These calls are annoying, but worse, many Americans have been fleeced,” he said.

The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


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