(reprinted by request from the SDWRA)
Lurking around gas stations…
Cruising through car washes…
Beware of the Windshield Sharks!
Seeing your car is caked in dust, you rush in to the nearest car wash during your lunch break. As you are placing your car wash order, someone approaches you and tells you that your windshield has damage. “Give me 10 minutes, and I’ll take care of that for you,” he says assuredly. “It’s free.”
Before you hand over your insurance and personal information to a “mystery clerk”, stop and ask this “technician” a few questions:
• How long have you been doing windshield repairs?
• What is the guarantee? Can I get it in writing?
• What if the crack continues to break after the repair has been made?
• What if the repair cracks during the repair?
• If I am not satisfied with the repair, what will you do?
• Have you signed a privacy statement with my insurance company?
“If a quick, solid answer isn’t give to every question, turn and walk away before you get scammed”, says Ian of the San Diego Windshield Repair Association (SDWRA).
If you decide to proceed, there are some clarifying questions you should ask your repair technician, recommends the San Diego Windshield Repair Association:
• How long has your repair company been in business?
• Are you a member of the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (B.A.R.)?
• Can I see your BAR certificate?
• Do you have any unsatisfied claims with the bureau?
• Are you in good standing with my insurance company?
You should be aware that although many of these companies offer legitimate repair services, there are some that will repair your windshield for the first claim but file additional repair claims on your policy that have not been done, thus increasing your insurance premiums and causing challenges to clear your claim history record.
Watch out for Fly-by-night operators. Often the swindlers are fly-by-night operators. They’re poorly trained, work out of pickup trucks in parking lots, and disappear after quickly finishing shoddy repairs. They often approach people at car washes, gas stations, parking lots of convenience stores, or booths at county fairs.
The con artists can be aggressive, and continually pester you to do the bogus repairs. If you have any questions of need guidance, contact the SDWRA before having any windshield repair work completed at www.SDRWA.org. If you decide to have your repair done at the car wash or other non-glass repair facility, you may consider paying cash instead of giving your insurance information. If you have insurance coverage, you can file a claim by submitting the bill and being reimbursed. This way you will not give your personal information to an individual you do not know. The repair can cost anywhere from $40 to $130