Saturday, June 20, 2009

Trouble Brewing For Rusty Wallace And US Fidelis Sponsor


The Internet is littered with websites, big and small, where Americans are expressing their outrage with a company called US Fidelis. Click here to go directly to the US Fidelis homepage. There you will see some familiar faces.

Rusty Wallace and his son Steven are featured prominently on the mainpage. The reason is simple. US Fidelis sponsors one of the Wallace team cars in the Nationwide Series.

As with most sponsorships, the agreement includes Rusty personally appearing in TV commercials for the company. Wallace promotes US Fidelis as a company that offers an extended warranty on vehicles once the original manufacturer warranty expires.

Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the whole truth. Simply because of the TV commercials, Wallace appears to be right in the middle of the situation.

Click here for a video expose on US Fidelis from the Today Show on NBC. Based in St. Louis, the company is portrayed as nothing more than a wholesale telemarketing scam with no interest whatsoever in following through on the warranties being sold.

In fact, the President of the company with whom Wallace made his sponsorship deal is a convicted felon on both a state and federal level. Now 19 years out of federal prison, Darain Atkinson is only in his mid-forties. Regardless of his past convictions on counterfeiting, burglary, theft and forgery charges, he is now a very wealthy man. US Fidelis is the reason why.

One project Atkinson is currently working on is an 18 million dollar mansion that will cover more than 20 thousand square feet on the banks of Lake St. Louis. It includes a bowling alley, beauty salon and an auto courtyard that features a seven car garage.

Click here for a jaw-dropping story from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that presents a sinister profile of the family at the helm of this allegedly corrupt company. It contains a reference to what many believe is the most controversial part of Atkinson's claims. The halo on the company logo shows what Atkinson confirms. In his mind, US Fidelis is a faith-based organization.

"There is an order in the Kingdom of Heaven," Atkinson told the Post-Dispatch. "God has blessed us. Why he has blessed us, I don't know."

Apparently, the criminal justice system cannot figure it out either. At last count, 40 Attorneys General were actively involved in pursuing criminal complaints against US Fidelis. Click here for the information on the class action civil lawsuit filed in April against the company.

All of this puts Wallace in a tough position. On one hand, US Fidelis is paying the bills or the company logo would have been removed from the hood long ago. On the other hand, Wallace himself is a brand and it is being tarnished every time a US Fidelis commercial airs.

ESPN is certainly an issue. Wallace has been trusted by ESPN as a multi-car team owner in the Nationwide Series to remain impartial on the air. Recently, Wallace has been handling the pre-race show and the race analysis as he will in Milwaukee on Saturday. Essentially, what Wallace says to the national TV audience needs to be regarded as honest and the truth.

Finally, these tough economic times have put the financial squeeze on NASCAR teams like never before. 5 Hour Energy Drink and US Fidelis are perhaps not exactly the gold-plated team sponsors that Wallace would like to have for the long run.

It should be interesting with the controversy and pending legal action against US Fidelis to see if Wallace tries to ride-out the season with this tainted brand or walks away to keep his personal and professional reputation intact.

Wallace joins Allen Bestwick and Brad Daugherty Saturday at 8PM on ESPN2 for the pre-race show. He then moves upstairs with Jerry Punch and Ray Evernham to call the race at 8:30PM. Green flag from Milwaukee is at 8:45PM. TDP will be live blogging this event.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click the comments button below. We do not want your email and there is nothing to join. We just want your views on Rusty Wallace and the US Fidelis situation.

This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Additional story references: Click title to view.

CNBC: On The Money Blog from April 27, 2009
StlToday.com: Warranty Sales Skim Top Profit from May 23, 2009
StlToday.com: Florida Man Behind US Fidelis Robo-Calls Had Criminal History from June 15,2009
Consumeraffairs.com: Class Action Lawsit Filed Against US Fidelis from April 10, 2009

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

This company called my cell phone repeatedly, driving me crazy. Only family members have my cell phone number so I was afraid it was an emergency with one of them. Could NOT get the calls stopped. Rusty needs to disassociate himself or his credibility will be in question, especially since this company is under investigation for criminal activity. I know I have a bad taste in my mouth from the multiple intrusions in my life.

Nathan Brice said...

I don't know what to make out of this. It would probably be best if their sponsorships were discontinued. I am sure that they would get new sponsors because their teams are so good. As far as Rusty and Steven themselves, I think as long as they did not know of any of this, I don't see anything that could come of it. We don't know that, however. I think we need more information on this.

Anonymous said...

Do not like Rusty Wallace? Because it seems anytime there is any controversy that is tangentially related to him, you write a whole column calling him on the carpet and claiming he is really in the hot seat now.

If I am running a race team and a company comes to me with money, I take it. After all, is Rusty Wallace supposed to hire investigators and news journalists to look into the background of everyone who wants to put a sticker on his car?

David said...

JD, I imagine as long as the bills are paid for the remainder of this season the sponsor stays.

Look at competitive teams such as Red Horse Racing, Stewart-Haas, and Yates, sponsorship is needed in all of those organizations. For RWI to hop off the wagon while checks are still clearing could damage their situation with the addition of factory support being pulled, they have to do what they have to do.

At the end of 2009 Rusty will have that choice to make, find a new sponsor if they aren't already, keep going with this as long as checks clear, or do as you suggest and that is bail before things sink to that point.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anonn 8:33PM,

Nothing suggests that Wallace knew anything about the US Fidelis problems. Certainly, not my column in any way.

It is just a situation that is unfolding and a large portion of it is unfolding on national TV.

The US Fidelis commercials with Wallace and his son actually end with him saying "tell them Rusty and Steven sent you."

It might be a good first step to pull those versions and just leave the generic ones until the pending legal action is over.

JD

Deborah said...

Anon, yes, it probably is a wise idea for Rusty or any other team to do some checking into the companies they opt to enter into a deal with considering part of a sponsorship agreement usually includes the driver, team and in this case owner endorsing the company and their product. So if things go bad with the company or their produce it could damage the driver or team's reputation. That said, now that Rusty is already involved with them it may not be so easy to get out of the contract he has with them, plus he may need the money they're paying him to keep the #66 on the track.

Karen said...

Maybe I'm too much of a skeptic, but how could Rusty not know of this questionable company or its owners? He's from St. Louis, isn't he? Does he have his head in the sand?

He should make sure though that his greenbacks are real. Counterfeiting from Mr. Atkinson?

I think I've received some of these letters. Will pay attention next time instead of dumping it.

JLee said...

LOL, this is too funny & in so many ways. :D I just saw this when I did a google search on US Fidelis-I was looking up their website so I could contact them to tell them to reconsider sponsoring Rusty's teams. Contacting all of his sponsors, ya know? Anyway, in the search there was a list of consumer sites that had loads of complaints against US Fidelis. Wow, Rusty sures knows how to pick 'em!

Like has been said before, Rusty is not an intelligent man. His statements in interviews, his business dealings, etc. proves this. Before the Gaughan/Berry/Davis incident, I had nothing against Rusty, just thought he used bad grammar occasionally. Now I just think he's a dishonest, lowlife ..... He shows this in his business practices & the ppl who he employs. So really none of this is a big surprise considering his character. Yep, he'll probably soon be peddling for new sponsors, but the smart ones will get wind of his reputation, & ppl like me will be happy to tell them. :D

Dot said...

I would like to think that Rusty keeps up with what's going on back home in MO even though he's in NC (isn't he?).

This company was being investigated in 2008. I agree with Deborah, some research should be done before hooking up with a sponsor. There's always going to be disgruntled customers but 40 state AGs investigating plus the BBB?

I don't see how these car warranty companies can stay in business. In the insurance business, we call it adverse selection.

Rusty is a known name in NASCAR and now TV. When you lie with dogs.....

There's now a new company advertising warranties, Mogi. Just saw the comml. I wonder whose car they're going to sponsor?

darcin5261 said...

Karen, I suspect that as long as there's money coming in, someone like Rusty isn't going to bother to check. Heck, unless you're on top of things, when you see their commercials, you'd swear they were legit. In a way, I feel sorry for Rusty, but he needs to disassociate himself from this company, if at all possible, asap.

Jack from PA said...

Wow. I am a little shocked, but something told me that all these extended warranties had catches to them one way or another. It seems to me that Rusty is an innocent bystander who saw a company come to him with money and he took it. I feel bad that he is caught in the middle of this, especially with commercials featuring him and Steve.

Just goes to show that some people will never change. The guy was 21 and seemed like he spent all his school years plotting counterfeiting schemes.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, I have not seen any commercials for US Fidelis. I wonder whether EESPN has a policy on from whom it accepts commercials- and, if so, how said policy might impact Rusty IF EESPN were to blacklist US Fidelis? At the same time, I suspect it might not be as easy as Rusty ending carrying US Fidelis on his car, since he has a contract with US Fidelis and he could be breaking the contract if he were to stop promoting US Fidelis unless there is an out in the contract.

On another issue, I wonder whether the NASCAR media will alter the tone of reporting the Mayfield story now that the general sports media is crucifying Sosa and it is reported a Congressional committee is considering investigating him based on leaks of an alleged failure of a supposedly secret drug test in 2003?

Kevin said...

Living near St Louis and in my line of work (bank financial analyst), I've kept up a little bit on this company.

Long and short, there are about 100 of these type of companies that sell extended warranty services on vehicles across the country. About 90 of them are based in the St Louis area. US Fidelis is one of only about seven which has not come to an agreement with the MO Attorney General's Office, which pursued these companies for deceptive marketing practices. The companies which have signed agreements have changed their marketing practices and are rolling in cash, even in (or because of?) this economic situation.

While I focus on one of US Fidelis' competitors, I follow the industry and know that there are significant lawsuits beginning to crop up which could shut this company down for fraud, if not for the criminal complaints.

These companies make significant profits and are only telemarketing centers which then are supposed to sell the warranty protection to a servicing company.

Not being a Rusty fan, I just laugh every time I see the commercials with him and Steven in them because it is funny that he is connected to such a shady character who has so many authorities and consumers after him.

Rusty seems to be having a lot of positive issues lately, huh? Between the Nationwide crew chief and this, it may time to take a break and re-assess instead of moving up to the Cup series?

Anonymous said...

Where's NASCAR? It wasn't that long ago that they wouldn't let (I think) Robbie Gordon have Crown Royal for a sponsor.This was way before Jack Roush picked them up.

With Sponsors onboard such as this and extendz. Bill France Sr and Jr must be twirling like dervishes in their graves.

Frank in Sebring

Jojaye said...

As anyone who has read my comments knows I'm not a Rusty fan.

The "old" pre Wallace commercials were very professional, polished & very legit looking. So was the website, & until a friend who is a mechanic warned us about warranty companies in general we were thinking about it.

So I was surprised to see the Wallaces doing commercials & being sponsored by one. Figured it was one of the legit ones.

Now that its well known & publicized what US Fidelis is & is about & its owners, I really wouldn't want to be in Rusty's shoes.

I think he needs a good attorney to protect himself, & the minute a payment is 1 day late cancel the contract, unless he can find a replacement sponsor in these tough times. A lot of people don't keep up with back home news. But now its national.
Next year he should not have them as sponsors. JMHO

bevo said...

Two words for Rusty Wallace - DUE DILIGENCE. Know it, Learn it, Live it.

As a wise man once said the only thing you have in the end that can't be taken from you is your reputation.

Everyone makes mistakes, the way you react is what people remember.

Haus14 said...

I heard about potential issues regarding US Fidelis a few weeks ago and was wondering what the Wallace's were going to do. Simply from a PR point of view it would be wise for them to disassociate themselves from the company. Unfortunately, there is potentially a lot of money involved. That always makes decisions that should be obvious more difficult because there are negative ramifications for doing what is obviously the right thing.

Lesley said...

I have a 16 year old son who I would go to any length to protect..When I see Steven on TV, I have always felt bad for him.Whatever the reason, Im not sure.Call It a gut feeling...I think the Wallace family has enough average drivers in Nascar, without exploiting his son...I may be wrong! I hope so!!

Anonymous said...

I worked in the NASCAR industry for over 18 years, leaving at the end of last season. I have worked personally and directly with Rusty for over 10 - 12 of of those years. While he is a very nice person he is also self serving as are the majority, NOT ALL, of those in this sport that are key figures or players. From owners to drivers. There are many that are sincere and do get a bad rap because of public opinion without knowing the person, like Tony Stewart or or Carl Edwards. But I can tell you that this is all about the almighty dollar and that is always the case with Rusty. But you have to bear in mind that these are difficult times for everyone in this business and the dollars are getting harder to come by. Then, in my opinon, it comes down to person business morals and values as that is reflective in those you associate and do business with overall. There are no excuses, though they can provide one. This my friend is a degree you receive from NASCAR University once you have sucked up enough NASGAS and conformed to their diluted and totally baseless form of reasoning in every situation. Thus putting it out through their select Media Members. Oh,by the way these are the select few that get preferential consideration and access to ALL NASCAR functions. Of course occasionally they will throw in a punch against the high powers to keep it interesting and to keep you hanging onto every word they sell. I am in no way saying that these members are not well educated formally and that their skills exceptional, I am simply telling you as fact that they are reformed to gain and maintain their favor in the upper office of the sport.FACT! I have been around this sport in some form or fashion for over 35 years, and I speak the truth. When you think of it in a business sense it is no different than any other business. It's about the dollar and some will compromise or turn their backs on a lot of factual circumstances for the gain of the mighty dollar. Those who do will also deny it until they take their last breath and usually plead stupidity in the process. The real shame in all of this sport is the American public that breaks their backs to earn their keep and then, and it's their right, to give it to a organization like NASCAR who is FILTHY RICH and now that we are in difficult times economically decide to acknowledge the fans. Come on let's be honest here, lets be fair to ourselves and face the facts. NASCAR for the most part is a bunch of selfish, self serving and unappreciative bunch of overly wealthy people, who continue to milk as many financial funds out of every possible resource with no regard to ethics or moral value.

Guess Who said...
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Guess Who said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...

JLee,

Do you really believe that having a sponsor go bad like this makes Wallace "a lowlife?"

Rich,

If you have not seen a US Fidelis ad, not gotten a letter or received multiple phone calls, you should consider yourself lucky. I would refer you to the first comment on this post.

JD

Karen said...

@Anon, 4:29 a.m.

Very, very interesting. Nice to hear from a real insider. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Like a lot of long time Nascar fans, I was pleased that the very self-centered Rusty Wallace retired. Unfortunately,he popped up in the booth with an obvious inclination to use the word "I". It's been amusing that regardless of where in the back of the pack Stephen Wallace runs, you can count on Jerry Punch to wax eloquently about his performance complete with closeups of the car's sponsor. I saw one race where they panned continuously on the car for three entire laps. I'm sure the Wallace's knew full well what they were getting into with this sponsor. Let's see Rusty talk his way out of this one!

cvt said...

I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn there are shady characters involved in racing.

Didn't I once hear about a team owner, a major team owner, who was a convicted felon? And didn't that team owner see that conviction vanish after he made a sizable donation to the President's library fund, the very President that pardoned him?

Anonymous said...
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larry said...

I had never heard of Fidelis before seeing the Wallace commercial. I have long known that extended warranties were a ripoff, but because of Wallace I researched Fidelis thinking they may be legit.

I found so many complaints by so many people. I have to say that I lost respect for Rusty after just a short time researching Fidelis. I was neutral about Rusty in the past, neither fan nor detractor.

I know he needs a sponsor, but this was a very bad choice. In my mind, his name is now tarnished by the Fedelis relationship.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Please do not try to post links in the comments section. If you have a link that makes sense for this story, just email me at editor@thedalyplanet.tv

Thanks,

JD

50 yr. fan said...

Maybe France and Helton could
penalize Fidelis for "actions detrimental" and make some more
money for themselves.

Seriously, thanks JD for making
us aware of this situation.

Vicky D said...

I don't think the teams have the time or effort to investigate companies when they come to them with money to sponsor a car. Remember back several years ago with Angela's Motorsports? What a fiasco that turned into. If I were Rusty, I would just request to have the generic commercials until the investigation is completed. What a worry for RWI including next year there'll be more big teams searching for a morsel of sponsorship money.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

This is old news and it is flawed this is a great company who does not deserve this type of talk. They are the leader in the industry and have made thousands happy. So far 290.thousand with only 1100 hundred complaints in the last three years that have all been addressed.This is a better average than almost all companies of that size. I am a customer and i am very happy. Also a nascar fan.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 8:59AM,

Currently, 40 of the 50 Attorneys General in the US are actively conducting criminal investigations concerning US Fidelis.

The man responsible for the millions of automated phone calls on behalf of the company is heading for jail.

In April, a growing class action lawsuit was filed in civil court documenting the fraudulent business practices of US Fidelis.

If that works for you in terms of a great company, more power to you.

JD

Cindyb said...

JLee, your comment...
"He shows this in his business practices & the ppl who he employs. So really none of this is a big surprise considering his character." implies that you know him very well.

Have you been a former employee of his organization or have you had enough contact with him in the past to "know his character"? Thats a big statement from a fan.

I can't say I know someone's character unless I know them personally. Everyone has a public face and a personal face. I should think to know one's character you would have to be familiar with them both!

dawg said...

You lay down with dogs, you get fleas.
Those faith based fleas, are the peskiest kind. When anyone accepts money, & lends their name to a company, they owe it to their fans to know about the company. If they are so desperate for money, as to not know, or care. That shows a total disreguard for the fans, as well as his good name.

Anonymous said...

I dont see what the big deal is. Hendrick and Haas are felons who PERSONALLY cheated the little guy out of things. If its okay for them does anyone really have a legitimate beef with Rusty for his sponsors actions?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I dont see what the big deal is. Hendrick and Haas are felons who PERSONALLY cheated the little guy out of things. If its okay for them does anyone really have a legitimate beef with Rusty for his sponsors actions?

June 18, 2009 10:19 AM

Don't forget Mclure,,,Many owners in the sport are wayyyyy worse than sponsors!

Anonymous said...

There are other questionable sponsors in NASCAR--e.g. Enzyte. Right now I think as long as the check clears, most NASCAR teams would take pretty much anybody as a sponsor--unless, of course, they compete with the official phone service of NASCAR.

At the same time, RWI really needs to think this one through. If US Fidelis does fall out of the sport, they'll need a replacement--and being tarred with this brush will make that harder to do. Their response will show if they're thinking short or long term.

David said...

The Annon. "insider" is right. I have heard the same talk about owners, drivers, etc. about the ongoings inside of the sport. Very few people no one had any "dirt" on in some way, shape, or form. Back to the main point however, as long as the checks clear I really dont see Rusty rocking the boat any time soon this season. Just saw ANOTHER commercial with him on it for them 10 minutes ago...

Anonymous said...

A team in another series was sponsored by a construction company who's stock sold for about $.0001 a share. Of course, nobody would or could by the stock since there were 3 people controlling the company who also owned all the stock. The race team couldn't pay their bills with the promises of that sponsor since no money was actually paid up front and only worthless shares and advertssing promises which never happened were used. This company is now in federal court for fraud and a few other federal crimes. But that race team won't see a penny.

Due diligence is something every team has to do nowadays. It doesn't matter if the sponsor is a big name like GM or some off-the-wall widget manufacturer. Better to err on the side of safety that get bit in the backside.

Anonymous said...

This is called personal prostitution. What are you willing to sell yourself for and to whom? Some people have higher standards than others. And can we really be all that critical of Rusty Wallace, when the sport itself was sponsored by tobacco companies for decades even though we all knew the harm that tobacco was doing?

Does it hurt Rusty's credibility in the booth? Oh yeah. There's no separating the Rusty Wallace who is trying to tell you to buy into a scam in order to take YOUR money to line HIS pockets, from the one in the booth, who is trying to tell you that the caution was for debris on the track...no seriously it was! You can trust me on that!

Seriously?

Anonymous said...

Much has been reported for the past few years that companies providing vehicle warranties were not dealing honestly with the public. I cannot believe that a smart businessman such as Rusty Wallace has not read or heard about such dealings and did not do a minimal amount of investigation prior to signing agreements with this company. Could it be that the dollars his organization derived from these people has clouded his judgment?

If I were the executives at ESPN, I would certainly have a big problem here. If the viewers question Rusty’s integrity over this situation, how can we trust him to be an impartial reporter?

darcin5261 said...

Anon 12:32, that's the problem. Rusty isn't thought to be an impartial reporter on ESPN. And that's the part many Nascar fans have a problem with. I'm sorry but I don't think you can be a car owner and be the father of the boy who drives the car and be impartial. Rusty just has a grating personality on air and that's just one of the problems fans have with him.

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice that in the commercials, Steven speaks perfect English with no accent, but in any other interview you can barely understand him?

Anonymous said...

Five minutes of due dilligence using google tells anyone USF and its owners smell like dead fish. Apparently, Rusty and many others think the end (sponsorship) justifies the means (whatever brings in the cash). I've watched Rusty operate back to his days in ASA. I don't think he's credible or objective at all. I use the mute button or fast fwd when he speaks.

Anonymous said...

Having seen the US Fidelis commercials, I asked a good friend who owns 5 upscale auto repair facilities about US Fidelis. His reponse was 'Run Forrest Run'. He won't honor any of the aftermarket warranty services so US Fidelis is to him in good company. Or bad depending. Saying the will replace the transmission in a car with 150K miles is simply too good to be true. Apparently it is. Having said this, the mansion suggests that his checks are good and failing another sugar daddy, RWI will suffer the stain to their rep. It is the fact of NASCAR sponsorship today. Any money is good money because no money is worse. Personally, I don't think Wallace does a very good job on ESPN. I've never understood his demotion from the play by play booth. Why didn't they just show him the door?

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, NASCAR is entertainment - not a sport. With the NFL, MLB and the NBA, we have reporters and anouncers that actually report on the games on the field and the behind the scenes actions of the team players, coaches, and execs. With NASCAR, we have announcers like Wallace, the Waltrip brothers, and others that appear to be PR guys for NASCAR. None of these guys have any credibility.

I'm glad we have TDP and the printers reporters that can report on NASCAR without fear of retribution.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I would just like to make sure things stay on track.

Nothing suggests that Wallace has any relationship with US Fidelis other than as a Nationwide Series sponsor.

All the elements discussed in the original column are normally associated with sponsorship.

TV commercials, website presence and vehicle signage are all elements we see every day from other teams.

What we are talking about is simply a situation. A sponsor that is paying the bills while facing some tough allegations from the media.

The format of TDP is to offer a topic and then ask for your comments on that topic.

We have done that since February of 2007 and continue to appreciate all NASCAR fans and TV viewers that take the time to comment.

Please feel free to contact me directly at anytime using the editor@thedalyplanet.tv email address.

Thanks as always,

JD

Anonymous said...
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Richard in N.C. said...

JD and posters - fascinating discussion.

I am not a Rubberhead fan, but I do respect what he accomplished as a driver. In Rusty's defense I think it should be noted that apparently he has been dealing with a con man - so maybe at least at the outset he conned Rusty. Successful con men are good at what they do and I have seen people who I respect and know were much smarter than me conned.

Bad Bob said...

Yes Wallaces' sponsor is being investigated, investigated being the key word. At this time no charges have been filed and no arrests have been made.Pathetically gullible people and gossip mongers not withstanding we still live in a country where a person is innocent until proven guilty.I am not a Rusty or Steven Wallace fan however if you have been paying attention to NA$CAR for even a short time you have to know that it runs on money ie:sponsorships without which there is no NA$CAR. U.S.Fidelis is merely one in a long line of sponsors that come and go so to say that it somehow reflects poorly on the Wallaces for accepting U.S.Fidelis' money is ridiculous. If you want poor judgement how about a Viagra or a smiling Bob sponsor or how about tax evasion (Hendrick or Haas)or here is a real stretch DUI charges against King Brian that somehow never got filed? There are plenty of low lifes and criminals to judge and slander that have already been convicted so maybe we could wait and see if there is really anything to these allegations at all. After all the American media has been wrong once or twice,has'nt it ?

Vince said...

First off let me qualify my comments. I am NOT a Rusty fan or a fan of any of the Wallace's or the Waltrip's for that matter. I think it's all about the almighty dollar with the whole lot of them. Wave some cash in their face and they will be a shill for anything. When any of the Wallace's or Waltrip's show up on TV I hit the mute button or change the channel.

But back to US Fidelis. I was a patient for two months earlier this year in a large VA hospital. During my stay I received enough automated calls from US Fidelis on my hospital room phone that I had to unplug it. People that telemarket to a hospital, let alone a VA hospital are nothing but scum.

Just my opinion.

mgjackson69 said...

Why do so many writers use the term "convicted felon"? Felon/felony is a legal term...to be a 'felon' one must be convicted of a felony. There is no such thing as an 'unconvicted felon'.

This redundancy is simply a way for some writers to further dramatize a story.

JLee said...

JD,

IMO, Wallace is a lowlife anyway, not just based on these latest findings. You know it's no secret about how I feel about the whole Gaughan/Berry/Davis incident & how Wallace handled it. I was disgusted at his comments last Friday evening when he addressed the situation & I was even more ticked off with Brad Daugherty. He should be ashamed of himself. So for me, seeing how Wallace handled this incident, it's no surprise to me that he'd be involved with(knowingly or not) a shady business as a sponsor.

Cindyb, I never said I knew Wallace personally, nor do I want to, so please don't try to put words in my mouth. Since he is a tv personality, etc. & comes on tv & express his views, etc., I have the right to do the same. I have a low opinion of him & have & will continue to express this. Like I said, his actions alone like doing business w/US Fidelis speaks for, as he would say, "theirselves".

Let me ask you guys something; are many of you really that surprised at all this? I was kinda tickled at the fact that some ppl said they were shocked at all the shady characters in racing. I guess after the Gaughan/Berry incident, after me emailing them & seeing how they conducted themselves on tv, that's what changed my mind about Nascar. Sunday will be the last race I watch, because this whole thing has proved to me that Nascar isn't serious about diversity. They've chose what kind of fans they value the most, & it's not ppl like me or who think like me-so be it. But anyway, do your research, talk w/insiders, & hopefully more insiders like the ones on here will come & post to let fans know the real deal.

Anonymous said...

My BIL, I just discovered when I today, signed up with Fidelis because of the Wallace endorsement of it. Rusty, shame.

Cindyb said...

JLee,

after re-reading my post, I don't see as I put any words into anyone's mouth. In fact, I quoted your own comment and only asked you a question.

I am a new poster here, so it seems I should observe a bit longer before I ask any more questions.

BTW, Richard in NC, very good point.

Guess Who said...

I have worked for this company. US Fidelis had a great company going and got greedy. I am one of the three women on the link to The Today Show. Our local newspaper St. Louis Post-Dispatch has been writing on the story so check it out. St. Louis Today.com and search US Fidelis. It is some good reading.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Cindy,

Just jump right in. No problem with your comments. We have back and forth here all the time.

The difference is that we do not allow profanity or hateful speech.

We welcome your comments on any topic.

JD

Cindyb said...

Thanks for the invitation JD, appreciate it!

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, I just happened to see on CNBC Darren Rovell commenting that Vijay Singh had been continuing to wear and was expected to wear today at the US Open his Stanford Fiancial logo gear despite its current legal problems.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Richard,

That is exactly the point of this post. It has little to do with the realities of US Fidelis and much more to do with some critical brand decisions.

The brand in question is Wallace.

The two schools of thought both have pros and cons. Stay and keep the funding risks a public backlash as the US Fidelis story grows.

Walk away loses the money but keeps the brand intact and makes a big statement about integrity.

Should be interesting to watch and see how it all shakes out over the next few months.

Thanks to everyone for their great comments, they have been read by many folks who have emailed me about them.

Your comments count.

JD

Anonymous said...

Guess Who,

It is extremely easy to find people to attempt to destroy ex-cons who build successful businesses especially when destroying such an industry will help another one (The American Automobile Industry) when they (our government) is knee deep in it financially. Of course our government and all their little operatives in the media desire and is attempting to destroy one industry in hopes that it will help rebuild the dying American Automobile industry. I am always so surprise by how gullible the people of America are.

Anonymous said...

The complaints against U.S. Fidelis compared to the total number of extended warranty and claims are nothing and very minor.

American Home Shield, a service contract a company I swore by and my family would not dare be without their service contract (extended warranty), just like U.S. Fidelis you will find pages of disgruntled consumers on the internet just like U.S. Fidelis. But, most of their customers just as my family are very pleased with our service contracts and obviously so are U.S. Fidelis customers when they have sold over a half million of these warranties and there are only 1200 registered complaints against this company where ALL complaints have been settled, you must question the motives behind all the operatives here involved in attempting to destroy this company and anyone associated with it.

By the way, U.S. Fidelis discontinued and no longer use telemarketing outgoing solicitation calls according to the reports, over a year ago.

Anonymous said...

JD,

How about sticking with a company until charges are proven, if ever anything is even proven criminal? Could you point out to us a source that states that U.S. Fidelis is being investigated for anything specifically criminal in nature?

And, what about being innocent until proven guilty concerning such weak charges as those against U.S. Fidelis that are all civil in nature?

Isn't that what a first class decent human being would do concerning things of this type matter concerning U.S. Fidelis, wouldn't he? You car racing fan types certainly have such good righteous hearts. (lol).

Daly Planet Editor said...

anon 4:05PM,

Those are great points and should be part of this discussion.

Nowhere in my column did I do anything other than offer access to existing media reports and talk about how the public and the media may view Wallace and his US Fidelis sponsorship.

The decision to ride it out or walk away is part of the column.

I hope you can appreciate that this is a simplistic view of a PR situation. What happens to US Fidelis down the road has nothing to do with our TV/media blog.

Trouble with sponsors has been a long tradition in NASCAR. There is one thing to keep in mind, however.

If US Fidelis is judged to have engaged in unfair business practices and defrauded consumers, all parties associated with this company will be judged.

Nothing is easy about this topic where the Wallace sponsorship is concerned.

JD

JLee said...

Once again, all ppl need to do is a google/yahoo search & they will see the info for themselves. Look at this company's background-3previous names, the founder is a convicted felon, etc. On several comsumer complaints websites ppl have noted Rusty's racing being sponsored by these ppl, they have a picture of his racecar w/the US Fidelis logo & some said they were going to contact him. So from the looks of it, IMO, he's known about this for a while now. Some even said they'd signed up because of him & they can't believe he'd be involved w/a company like this.

Anonymous said...

JLee,

According to reports and their CEO the name changes where due to being similar in name to other companies in the industry who they were being confused with and being accused of behaviors that was not that of the company known as U.S. Fidelis but was deceiving consumers that they were this company who is the biggest auto extended company out there. And remember, anyone can harass and slander a company on consumer boards over the internet. I heard of incidences where disgruntled people just one along will place hundreds of slanderous lies or shall we say slanted one-sided complaints against a company just because they did not get their way and was disgruntled over it. There are no over sight to these complaint boards and everyone and anyone can post anything that they want to.

You must take these consumer complaint boards with a grain of salt. I began searching for companies on them that I do business and have very good relationships with just to see.

JLee said...

Sorry Anon @ 12:50, etc. but this obviously is not just about a few disgruntled ppl. US Fidelis has a class action lawsuit against them & 1,000 complaints were filed w/the BBB alone. Ppl are saying they're being harassed on the phone, want their money back, etc. & several are holding Rusty partially responsible. They felt he was a trustworthy person & many feel betrayed by him. I mean, it would be easy for me to gloat & be like, "Told ya!" & keep being suckers if you want, because even I couldn't make all this stuff up, it's that bad. But it's not about that, & regardless of how I feel about Wallace personally, what has happened to these customers is a shame. IMO, Wallace not addressing this, to at least, give his fans/ppl who trusted him some kind of explanation continues to show what kind of person he is. For me, I already knew this, when he, a so-called elderstatesmen of the sport, didn't have enough compassion to reach out to an 18 yr old kid, regardless of whether or not his employee did what he was accused of doing. Marc's dad shouldn't have had to been the 1 to make the 1st call. Sorry if this is mixing apples & oranges, but for me, this is very telling about Wallace's (lack of)character.

Anonymous said...

When you play with trash, that stench will end up rubbing off of you. This really shows what type of character (or lack there of) Rusty Wallace is. He doesn't care people are getting ripped off for millions as long as Rusty gets his sponsorship dollars off of the backs of the people US Fidelis is ripping off.

Anonymous said...

I liked the post about NASCAR should fine US fidelis for actions detrimental to stock car racing. Some might say keeping Steven on the track might qualify for that.

Frank in Sebring

Richard in N.C. said...

It appears to me that "innocent until proven guilty" has been repealed by the media - does not fit the news cycle. Just ask Sammy Sosa.

Hopefully Rusty is conferring with his lawyer and other advisors before doing anything publicly.

Anonymous said...

JLee,

Do you not comprehend how minor 1200 complaints with the BBB is when a company have over a half million customers? And how unusual it is for ALL those complaints to be settled?

Do you not understand that these are only investigations and mean absolutely nothing until these AG's come up with something? Such investigations usually prove to be nothing more than witch-hunts where these officials HOPE to uncover something. So lets allow its course to take place and see where all the balls fall and who is correct, how about that?

By the way, you are way too trusting of this government system. It is all about attempting to DESTROY the extended warranty industry and the reasons why are so apparently to any knowing individual.

Lastly, did you know that Missouri’s former U.S. Attorney General, Katherine Hanaway who is the law partner with our former U.S. Attorney General, John Ash croft firm was hired by U.S. Fidel’s to oversee and do an independent investigation of all their business operations and practices?

Let’s just wait and see if this turn out to be nothing more than a witch-hunt because I seriously believe that it is and it is sad that the Wallaces got caught up in it through no fault of their own.

It is a shame what this government is attempting to do to U.S. Fidelis in order to help the American auto industry, destroy one industry unfairly in order to try to save an industry who has self destructed itself with the exception of Ford, but our government have a lot to lose if GM doesn’t make it, but it isn’t right to go about it in this way.

By the way, I am an Independent who is a stanch Obama supporter, but they are off their rocks with this one.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

That picture of in your post of Darain Atkinson is when he was a troubled youth (young man) Today he has salt and pepper hair and is much much older. His criminal past was many, many years ago.

This picture certainly paints a prejudiced picture of Darain as a young thug, doesn't it?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 4:42PM,

As you may notice, there is a Today Show logo in the lower left corner of the graphic.

This is a TV/media blog and Atkinson was featured on the Today show. The link to the story is provided in the column.

I hope that helps your point of reference.

JD

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for the confusion but I truly was not implying that you were the culprit doing that. I realize that it was the mainstream media that was the suspect ones there doing such a thing.

Erica @ USfidelis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

This says it all:

Class Action Filed Against U.S. Fidelis Fraud, high-pressure sales tactics alleged in auto warranty sales.

By Jon Hood
ConsumerAffairs.com

April 10, 2009

• US Fidelis Complaints
---
News
• Class Action Filed Against U.S. Fidelis
• More about Warranties
A class action lawsuit has been filed against U.S. Fidelis in Missouri, adding to the woes of a company repeatedly accused of fraudulent and illegal conduct.

The company offers extended vehicle protection for consumers whose original warranties have expired. Many consumers who pay for the extra coverage assume that it will cover most if not all repairs, as dealer-provided warranties generally do. The problem, according to the suit, is that U.S. Fidelis includes so many exceptions in its fine print that consumers are usually left out in the cold when their cars break down.

The suit also alleges that U.S. Fidelis misrepresented the level of coverage consumers would receive, and pressured them to sign up quickly or risk losing special benefits. Many consumers were told that they were eligible to receive special rates, which never materialized. On top of everything else, customers who asked to see the conditions of the contract were ignored.

The company has had plenty of prior warnings.

In March 2008, former Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon filed a complaint against U.S. Fidelis for deceptive marketing and violation of telemarketing laws. The suit alleged that, among other things, the company contacted consumers whose numbers were on the federal Do Not Call list. Several other attorneys general followed suit, and a settlement is now reportedly being negotiated with Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s office.

Consumers haven’t exactly given the company two thumbs up, either. The Better Business Bureau has received over 1,000 complaints about U.S. Fidelis and its affiliates over the past three years, leading the Bureau to give the company a failing grade.

According to the BBB’s website, that grade is based on the total number of complaints received, how many of those complaints went unresolved, how long the eventual resolution took, and “advertising issue(s),” which presumably refers to the company’s allegedly deceptive marketing methods.

A press release issued by Jay Nixon in March 2008 alleged that the company sent consumers letters warning them that their factory warranties were about to expire, when in fact many had warranties that wouldn’t run out for months. The release further says that consumers who asked for a refund got either nothing or only a fraction of what they originally paid. The company advertises on late-night TV and through direct mailers.

The company was founded in 2003 and is run by Cory and Darain Atkinson, brothers who live in Missouri. It has already cycled through three names, first calling itself Dealer Services and then National Auto Warranty Services, before settling on its current name within the past year. The company’s switch to the U.S. Fidelis name came after Nixon’s complaint was filed, possibly in an effort to disassociate itself from the allegations.

Anonymous said...

JD,

while you said no one's accusing RW of doing anything wrong, there is absolutely no chance he's not fully aware of the issues surrounding USFailus Warranty.

I've personally written to him, and left messages with the GM of 3 of his car dealerships. I never got or expected a reply, but the idea he's completely oblivious to the problems at USF is ludicrous.

There are thousands of links of people being ripped off, never seeing a dime of insurance money and in many cases ended up in financial difficulty because the warranty they assumed they had turned out to be a scam, couldn't afford to get their cars repaired.

In my opinion, and it's only that, it's clear that RW has knowingly conspired to work with USF, regardless of the BBB's "F" or any of the other websites that have ample evidence that USF is basically nothing more than a group of telemarketers stealing $1000-3000 from people without the slightest regard to them EVER paying anything back in claims.

While I'd never want anyone hurt on the racetrack, if the hood of his car flew off and the part with the USF logo smashed thru the windshield and decapitated him, it would prove there is both justice and God has a truly warped sense of humor.

My bet is RW is making huge sums of money from USF and if he accepts their checks and deposits them, with full knowledge of where the money came from, he's just as culpable as the drug dealer hiring others to stand on the corner peddling drugs. And as bad as drugs are, at least the customer is getting what they paid for!!

Ex.

Anonymous said...
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special k said...

I am proud to be the spouse of a just Retired Marine. Semper Fidelis is the motto and foundation for Marines past and present and their families. Fidelis mean faithful. I am appauled that US Fidelis is using such a term. I am very outragged at the service being conducted. And to add fire to fury Rusty Wallace and his son Steven have associated themselves with such a company. US Fidelis is doing an excellent job at selling false promises to its customers. In such a time as this with our country in its current state my husband returned back from Iraq to such a disappointment after I tried my best to make sure that our vehicle is covered for emergency situations but it turned out to be an ongoing nightmare. Is this why we serve?

Anonymous said...
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