Auto Glass Repair Guide - Avoiding Ripoffs

Ripoff #1: "Bait And Switch" Couponing

You've seen them in almost every newspaper and in the junk mail you receive shouting: "$100 OFF", "$50 OFF", etc. That's the bait used most often to lure you in. You call, make an appointment and present your coupon, thinking it will cover all or part of your deductible — only to find out "certain restrictions apply. " Wouldn't you know it? Those "certain restrictions" mean "your car." Your coupon is worthless. How convenient. Now you're stuck. The best way to protect yourself against this type of rip-off is to get a written estimate. An honest, reputable shop will be happy to provide you with one. That way, you'll know exactly what your insurance company will pay and what you'll be responsible for before you have any work done.

Ripoff #2: An Offer To Pay All Or Part Of Your Deductible

Shopping for a windshield based on the lowest price alone could be hazardous to your health — maybe even fatal. There are two common problems with a low cost windshield installment.

1) Some shops might trick you and install a low quality glass made across the border in Mexico. It's totally legal for them to do so and glass made in Mexico and China is widely available. However, it's much thinner and far more brittle, chipping and breaking much easier than it should. Poor quality glass may not protect you in the event of a serious accident. This poor quality glass is used to save money and increase profits without regard to your safety. Protect yourself by insisting on original equipment glass. PPG, LOF, Carlite and Mopar are just a few names to look for in high quality, original equipment glass.

2) The urethane adhesive used to secure the windshield is expensive. Some shops cut corners here to save time and money. They remove your old windshield leaving much of the old, brittle urethane in place (a.k.a. "partial cutout") and lay the new urethane right over the old — much like painting over flaking paint on your house! "Full cutouts" (i.e.: removing all the old urethane adhesive) require a little more time and material, but it's the method every vehicle manufacturer recommends for your maximum safety in the event of a serious accident. Unfortunately, some shops care more about their own profits than about your safety. They cheat by using the "partial cutout" method, saving them time and material. Protect yourself by insisting the shop you hire do a "full cut out" when replacing your windshield.

Ripoff #3: Unsupported Claims Like "We're The Best"

You have seen the ads. They are everywhere. Things like "we're the best" or "lifetime warranty" or "factory trained installers." You'll hear this from almost every company. Since your auto glass can be a matter of life and death, the company that's right for you is the one that will follow the manufacturers guidelines — NOT one that cuts corners when it comes to replacing your glass. Protect yourself by asking plenty of questions and request to see some of their work. Call the Better Business Bureau and ask for a report and ask the shop for testimonials from past clients. What past customers say about them is far more important and believable than what they say about themselves.

Ripoff #4: Choosing A ”Gypsy Type” Glass Company That Operates Only From The Back Of A Van

”Gypsy type” glass companies do not have a fixed location that you can visit — a van and a telephone were all they needed to get in the glass business. These "gypsies" are often difficult to check out and even harder to find when you have a problem. Was there an address along with a phone number in their ad? Reputable shops that offer mobile service always have a fixed location as well. Protect yourself by asking for their street address when you call, then pay a visit to their location. They should be happy to show you around and answer your questions. Beware if they don't have one.