FCC Puts End to Widespread Auto Warranty Robocalling Scheme

According to a press release issued on Thursday by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency has opened an investigation, issued cease-and-desist letters, and alerted networks to be on the lookout for robocalls generated by Roy Cox, Jr., Aaron Michael Jones, and their Sumco Panama companies. The FCC, in collaboration with the Ohio Attorney General who simultaneously filed a lawsuit against the operation, said that the syndicate has been responsible for more than 8 billion robocalls since 2018.

The agency explained that the probe concerns one of the FCC’s most-complained about robocall subjects: auto warranties. Some of the robocalls reportedly contained a message stating that the caller had been trying to reach the recipient “concerning your car’s extended warranty,” adding that the recipient should have received a companion mailing, and stating that the call was “a final courtesy call before we close out your file.” Though the same recording gave the recipient the option to opt-out, it also offered them the opportunity to speak with a “warranty specialist.” 

In a statement, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworscel said operators of the “junk call” scheme must be held accountable for spamming Americans, noting that financial penalties are not out of the question.

In its cease-and-desist letters, the FCC told eight telecoms to stop carrying the suspicious robocall traffic within 48 hours, report the mitigatory steps they take to the FCC, and continue to close off scam traffic, adding that failure to comply could result in restrictive measures.

The trio of actions represents the FCC’s latest efforts to curb the tide of robocalls plaguing Americans. Other recent actions include enacting a regulation barring “ringless voicemails” and levying the largest Telephone Consumer Protection Act fine against the operators of an anti-vote-by-mail robocall campaign that ran during the 2020 election season.