Nebraskans Warned About Service Contract Scams

July 27, 2005

The Nebraska Department of Insurance is advising consumers to be inquisitive when looking to purchase a motor vehicle service contract, often called extended warranty. These contracts need to be backed by an insurer licensed with the department.

A Lincoln resident was recently solicited over the phone to purchase such a warranty. He said that his original manufacturer warranty was due to expire. Manufacturers and dealers can and do sell the expiration lists according to the department.

The Lincoln man was advised that the insurer was National Warranty. Because he was aware that National Warranty is an insurer that is currently insolvent and being liquidated, he asked questions. The solicitor hung up. The next day he received another call. When he asked about the insurer, the solicitor offered up a name that did not check out as authorized in Nebraska.

The Nebraska Department of Insurance can tell you if an insurer is permitted to transact insurance in the state. The number is (402) 471-2201.

The Nebraska Department continues to focus efforts on certain aspects of the National Warranty liquidation, especially consumers who purchased SmartChoice contracts involving SC&E Administrative Services.

On Thursday, July 21, 2005, the Department filed a brief in opposition to a class action settlement being proposed in a district court in Las Vegas, Nev. The reason for the opposition is concern that the consumers of SmartChoice contracts are not getting a fair shake whereby the plaintiffs’ counsel are seeking large attorney fees. A hearing on that matter is scheduled August 4, 2005.

The Texas Department of Insurance has joined in opposition to the matter. SC&E is a Texas business corporation.

Contact Ann Frohman, Department General Counsel, at (402) 471-4640 for questions.

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