Auto service contracts task force hears testimony
By Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio
Lake St. Louis, MO – Victims of potentially fraudulent auto service contracts testified in St. Charles County Friday before a state task force that's investigating the issue.
Attorney General Chris Koster, who assembled the task force, has sued a number of auto service contract companies for deceptive business practices.
Missouri Senator Scott Rupp sits on the panel and says complaints about the service contracts can also hurt employees in the industry, like those laid off at bankrupt U-S Fidelis.
"I want to make sure that what we have is enough consumer protections that number one, protects the consumer, and number two, gives an industry that maybe has gotten a black eye from some people that are doing some deceptive practices, that it is a viable industry and they do protect the consumers, so that it doesn't end up in more people losing their jobs," Rupp said.
Donna Acosta of Yuma, Tennessee, told the task force her story of being stuck with a $3,000 car repair bill despite purchasing a $2,100 service contract that she was told by U.S. Fidelis would cover everything.
"I felt screwed. I felt like they were using me," Acosta told the task force.
After hearing more testimony, the task force will help develop sales conduct standards for the industry and consider recommending more state regulation.
The state attorney general's office received almost one thousand complaints about auto service contracts last year, more than any other issue.