St. Louis, Mo., June 15, 2011 - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) welcomes news of the indictment of the principals of US Fidelis, a vehicle service contract (VSC) company that has long been under investigation by the BBB.
In a recently released study, the BBB recommended: “That state and federal authorities be more vigilant and vigorous in prosecuting violators of consumer protection laws governing the VSC industry, including criminal prosecutions of the most egregious offenders.”
The recommendation was made after the study had concluded: “Even now, punishment for those who have reaped millions rarely includes criminal prosecution of individuals. Prosecution of providers and administrators is rare.”
The study was undertaken after the BBB received thousands of complaints regarding companies in the vehicle service contract industry and after the collapse of the giant US Fidelis. The BBB has received 2,341 complaints against US Fidelis.
The study also noted the lavish lifestyle of several in the VSC industry including those of the principals of US Fidelis. “Greed, left unchecked, diminishes the well-being of consumers,” the study concluded.
The study is available on the BBB website at: http://stlouis.bbb.org/Storage/142/Documents/VehicleServiceContractStudy2011.pdf
The BBB recommends that consumers who are considering the purchase of a VSC:
- Always read the contract carefully before agreeing to buy it.
- See what is covered, what isn’t covered and what conditions apply. If the seller won’t provide a contract, don’t buy it.
- If you are on a do-not-call list, report any violations to the attorney general’s office or Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- Do the arithmetic. Sometimes the cost of a contract may be more than the car’s value.
- Ask the seller the names and locations of the providers, administrators and insurers. Ask how claims are processed.
- Check all companies involved in the contract with the BBB at www.bbb.org or by calling 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Northeast Wisconsin) or 800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin).