Have you heard of “windshield bullies”? These are people that go door-to-door or stop you in a parking lot, point out a crack in your windshield, and then hard-sell you to let them replace it. According to MSNBC, windshield bullies are all over North America, especially in warm climates like Florida and Arizona – where storms, heat and desert sand can damage glass. Though selling windshield repairs isn’t a crime, some companies use overly-aggressive sales techniques – and others DO break the law by damaging your property.
For example, some salespeople have been accused of damaging car windshields, and then ringing doorbells and offering to repair them. One woman charged with the scam told a judge she earned $45 for every sales referral – so it was in her best interest to smash windshields. Other windshield companies have profited through insurance fraud. One glass company made an extra $6-million off insurance companies simply by lying about where repairs were done, because they got bigger commissions for repairs in rural areas. A Florida glass company scammed half-a-million dollars from insurers by lying about the quality of the glass they used. The glass may have only cost them $30 – but they charged the insurance company $300. Also, in “zero deductible states” like Florida, Kentucky and Massachusetts – the auto glass company goes directly through the car owner’s insurance. So they can say they replaced the whole windshield even if there was only a small scratch. The Arizona Department of Insurance says auto glass fraud is a huge problem. So, how can you keep from getting ripped off?
- First, don’t fall for a door-to-door sales pitch. If you need a windshield repair, shop around and get competitive quotes for the job.
- Also, before agreeing to any repair work, call your insurance company to make sure it’s covered in your policy.
- One final windshield tip: Hire a reputable company and make sure they use “original equipment manufacturer” safety glass. basically made by the company that manufactured your car.