The former owners of U.S. Fidelis, a company that once the nation’s top marketer of auto service contracts, won’t be bugging you anymore. The Washington Attorney General’s Office spearheaded a multistate settlement with the company’s former owners, Missouri brothers Darain and Cory Atkinson, that bars them from telemarketing or selling service contracts in 11 states. The agreement also severely restricts how the duo advertises any other product or service and requires them to turn over nearly all their assets.
U.S. Fidelis operated as National Auto Warranty Services and Dealer Services until its bankruptcy last spring. More than 400,000 consumers nationwide paid the Wentzville, Mo., company thousands for overpriced service contracts that were sold through illegal and deceptive means. An estimated 3,400 Washington consumers were among them.
The states accused the defendants of a variety of illegal actions stemming from deceptive junk mail, illegal telemarketing robocalls and misleading TV ads. They alleged the company’s solicitations misled consumers to believe their auto warranties had expired or would soon expire and confused customers into thinking that they were being contacted by a manufacturer or other entity affiliated with their original vehicle warranty. Many consumers who were led to believe they were purchasing a warranty providing “bumper to bumper” coverage of all major repairs later found the contracts full of exemptions.
Listen to Assistant Attorney General Mary Lobdell discuss the case in this interview with KOMO radio.
The Atkinsons are accused of plundering $101 million in corporate assets for their own personal gain.
“U.S. Fidelis suckered consumers through a multitude of lies while its owners, the Atkinsons, drained money out of the company to maintain a lavish lifestyle,” Attorney General Rob McKenna said in today’s news release. “This settlement helps ensure they won’t harm Washington consumers again.”
Consumers may submit a claim in the bankruptcy case. Download and complete this form and mail to:
United States Bankruptcy Court
Eastern District of Missouri
Thomas F. Eagleton US Courthouse
111 S. 10th Street, 4th Floor
St. Louis, MO 63102
Note: The Attorney General's Office cannot advise individuals on how to fill out the bankruptcy claim form