About Your Extended Warranty : Planet Money Calls about "extended auto warranties" blow up our phones over and over. But what are these robocalls actually offering? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

About Your Extended Warranty

About Your Extended Warranty

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Auto warranty scams are making our phones unusable. filo/Getty Images hide caption

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filo/Getty Images

Auto warranty scams are making our phones unusable.

filo/Getty Images

We've all been there. You get a call, one that you are 99.9% sure is a scam, most likely an extended auto warranty offer that promises to cover the costs of car repairs. Then again, this could be important, who knows? So you give this one call a chance.

Hello, this is Planet Money, calling from a vehicle serv—

Fooled again. Calls about auto warranties or similar guarantees are a constant pain for phone users. But what are these warranties? And why are they not only still around, but seemingly bigger than ever? Today on the show, we dive into the history of this industry and these calls. How they started, got big, and why they persist to this day.

Thanks to Matthew Hathaway for his reporting on US Fidelis for the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, to Don O'Brien at the St Louis Better Business Bureau and to Margot Saunders at the National Consumer Law Center.

Music: "Stand Up," "Fairytale Kingdom," "Deathblast," and "Yoo Hoo."

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