auto industry

(St. Charles County Dept. of Corrections)

The St. Charles County man who once helped run the largest seller of extended auto warranty contracts will spend eight years in federal prison for bilking customers out of millions of dollars.

Darain Atkinson pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax charges in April. He was sentenced to the maximum of eight years today, and must also pay $4 million in restitution.

Planet Money breaks down the "how much they got" and "how much they've paid back" of the bailouts of the financial system and auto industry. Check it out via the link.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to legislation that would expand tax breaks for auto parts manufacturers.

Ford and General Motors already have access to the incentives.  State Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R, Lake St. Louis), the bill’s sponsor, says it would expand the benefit to smaller auto parts builders.

(St. Charles County Department of Corrections)

Updated at 4:08 with comments from Attorney General Koster and Darain Atkinson's attorney.

Updated 3:58 with statement from the Better Business Bureau:

“US Fidelis left a trail of dissatisfied consumers from across the United States.  Today’s guilty plea by Darain Atkinson in St. Charles County illustrates the risks of unethical business behavior and the importance of the work of groups like the Better Business Bureau in exposing the underhanded practices in our marketplace,” Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO said.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Gov. Jay Nixon wants to offer larger incentives to a wider variety of automobile parts suppliers as part of a plan to rebuild the automotive industry in Missouri.

Nixon's administration provided details to The Associated Press of a plan the governor has been touting in broad terms for the past couple of weeks.

Nixon is seeking to expand special automotive industry incentives approved in 2010 that have been used to persuade Ford and General Motors to expand operations at Missouri plants. The 2010 law also authorized incentives for suppliers to automakers.

istockphoto

Last provision of Mo. law aimed at curbing auto extended service contract industry takes effect

Republican Senator Scott Rupp sponsored the legislation after he says he received lots of complaints about the businesses in his suburban St. Louis district. 

The last portion of the law to take effect requires the extended contract service providers, and their employees, to apply for a license with the Missouri Department of Insurance.

A push to curb auto service contract scams

Sep 1, 2011

You've likely seen the commercials for vehicle service contracts on TV promising to save customers thousands of dollars in repairs to their older cars and trucks.

And St. Louis is like the Silicon Valley of those vehicle service contract companies. But while the industry continues to thrive, Missouri's Better Business Bureau logged almost 1,000 complaints about it last year alone.

The Better Business Bureau received more than 200 complaints nationwide about an auto warranty marketer based in suburban St. Louis.

Stop Repair Bills of St. Peters also is getting an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau.

The company markets auto repair plans, but Bill Smith, a trade practice investigator with the BBB, says customers are missing the fine print.

(Seal image from: https://ecf.ilsd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/ShowIndex.pl)

The first federal  salvo in the legal battle over the sales of extended auto service warranties will be fired by Stephen R. Wigginton, the federal prosecutor for the southern district of Illinois.

Wigginton's office will not say who the charges are against, but the "law enforcement action" targets robo-calls the unnamed company made, not the extended auto service contracts themselves.