LEWISTON — World War II veteran Robert Poisson gets letters and frequent phone calls warning that his vehicle warranty has expired.

The letters say things such as: “Final notice,” “Extremely urgent” and “Immediate response to this notice required.”

The letters say the warranty on his Chevrolet Malibu has expired or is about to expire.

It’s not true, Poisson said.

“I didn’t fall for it,” he said. “I bought the car brand new,” he said. 

His car has a warranty good for five years or 100,000 miles. The first letter came less than a month after he bought the car.


“It’s a scam; it has to be a scam,” Poisson said. “I’m 94 years old. I’ve had a lot of cars. I’ve known what the warranty is on my car. If you don’t know, all you do is read the paperwork.”

The scam letters sometimes have no return address. Where the return address should be, it reads: “Official Business, Penalty for Private Use, $300.”

One says Poisson should respond no later than Jan. 4, 2016. Another letter is identical, except it says to respond no later than Jan. 5, 2016.

He hasn’t responded to the letters or phone calls.

“I’m not that stupid,” he said. 

But he worries that others may have. The intensity of the letters can be scary if people start to worry and believe they came from their car dealerships, Poisson said.


He kept several warranty letters to warn others. The letters have his correct address and the model and year of the car he bought.

“You wonder, ‘How did they get the information?” he said. “Somebody is making money selling the information.”

“It’s not from us,” said Vinnie Goulette, general manager of Emerson Chevrolet, where Poisson bought his car.

The Privacy Act prohibits dealerships from sharing consumer information except on bank applications, and those are secure, Goulette said.

He said customers bring the letters into dealerships frequently, asking, “What’s this?”

His advice?


“Throw them away,” he said.

“I’m not a CIA agent, but the only entity I believe they could get that from would be the state — the registration information,” Goulette said.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said yes, the state sells data to brokers.

Some driver data is private, the exception being data that are transferred for specific reasons and sold on a bulk basis to companies that keep track of information such as insurance rates.

That’s how insurance companies know when a driver has violations, Dunlap said.

Vehicle information is also sold to big brokers to keep track of automobile recall notices. Otherwise, the manufacturer would not know how to contact owners when there’s a recall, Dunlap said.

Consumers’ information “is out there,” he said.

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