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Attorney General's News Release

April 26, 2012

Attorney General Koster reaches $60,000 settlement with vehicle extended service contract seller

Jefferson City, Mo. -– Attorney General Chris Koster said today that his office has reached a settlement with Carhill Enterprises, Inc. that will restructure the way Carhill sells vehicle service contracts and provides $40,000 in restitution. Carhill, which has done business under the name Consumer Protection Services, will also pay $20,000 to the state.

The consent judgment against Carhill prohibits deceptive sales techniques in the sale of vehicle repair coverage. The judgment also requires Carhill to describe during sales phone calls the details of the written contract. These important terms and conditions include information about:

  • The identity of the service contract provider;
  • The exclusions, conditions and coverage liability limits under the contract;
  • Any deductibles under the contract;
  • Requirements for prior approval of vehicle repair;
  • Obligations of the consumer to perform and document past or future maintenance;
  • The consumer’s right to a free look and the procedure for canceling; and
  • The consumer’s right to pro rata refund if the contract is canceled before the full term of the contract.

If Carhill completes the contract in a telephone transaction, it is required under the consent judgment to record the transaction electronically and to mail the written contract within 3 business days.

Further, the consent judgment bars the illegal sale of vehicle repair coverage using the “additive scam,” in which companies delivered a bottle of ordinary oil additive in a scheme to avoid the consumer protections required under insurance and service contract laws.

Carhill Enterprises will continue in business under the injunction issued today by Cole County Judge Jon Beetem.

The case has been a joint prosecution by the Attorney General and the Department of Insurance.

“Missouri law says consumers have a right to see a written service contract and agree to its terms,” Koster said. “Customers who purchase vehicle repair coverage by telephone often later realize the significant limits to coverage in the written contract. It is important for Missouri consumers to protect themselves by carefully reviewing vehicle service contracts to make sure they contain the provisions promised.”

“A new state law protects consumers by requiring an insurance license for most sellers of these extended service contracts,” said Missouri Insurance Director John M. Huff. “I encourage Missouri consumers to check with our department to verify that sellers are properly licensed before buying a service contract.”

Carhill Enterprises has applied for a license with the Department of Insurance. Consumers can check the license of a service contract seller by calling the department’s Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726-7390 or visiting insurance.mo.gov.

Consumers who suspect fraud or have complaints about businesses selling motor vehicle extended service contracts should contact the Department of Insurance. Consumers may also report service contract fraud to the Attorney General’s Office at ago.mo.gov or by calling the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection hotline at 1-800-392-8222.



 
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