Same scam, different day

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News

Here's a bit of buzz from vendor circles: Some of the companies that got in trouble last year for using misleading and aggressive sales tactics to sell extended-service contracts directly to consumers could be back at it.

Only now they may have branched out into other products, like roadside assistance and wheel-and-tire policies.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, it wouldn't be the first time scammers changed products but stuck with the same sleazy tactics.

Earlier this year the feds cited a company for making "robo calls" to sell extended-service contracts. In a settlement, the company accepted a ban from telemarketing altogether. A few years ago, that same company signed a consent agreement and agreed to repay consumers $185,000, promising it would stop using similar tactics to sell vacation packages.

As fast as regulators write new rules, somebody finds a way around them.