The number of automotive glass company owners, technicians and vendors who have signed a petition called “Auto Glass Industry National Right to Fair Trade Petition” has doubled since early this month. “After almost 20 years in the business I thought [the petition] was long overdue,” says Dave Heidbreder of Liquid Resins, who created the petition online.
“Competition in any industry is a good thing as long as it is fair competition,” he says, noting he created the petition on his own time, outside of his job. “Whenever the unfair activity is over looked or illegal activity is ignored, things turn bad. That is what has happened in the auto glass industry.
“[T]he 1963 Consent Decree case laid out how auto insurers were violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. Public policy was set and explained in detail what constitutes steering and undue influence,” he says. “Today violations are still occurring on a daily basis. Signatures are needed to persuade the authorities to take action against the powerful insurance companies and those companies that conspire with them.”
The petition is directed to the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division.
So what exactly is the 1963 Consent Decree?
“Our United States Department of Justice, under the direction of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, investigated the concerns of the collision repair industry and found that 265 insurance companies were in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. To put an end to this abusive behavior a Federal Antitrust Consent Order was signed on October 23, 1963. This perpetual agreement was written to eliminate insurance company manipulations of the collision repair marketplace,” according to www.consentdecree.com.
Several glass company owners have added comments to the petition when they signed, sharing their viewpoint.
“No TPA (third-party automotive glass claims administrator) should have the right to intimidate a consumer into using any particular glass replacement center for any reason, be it for monetary gain or for market share,” writes Michael Goodman of New York on the petition.
Meanwhile, Edward Tuller of Florida, adds, “It is important that we all stand together on this, it will not get any better if we do not. The TPAs should not have any fiscal connection in any way to auto glass wholesale distributors or retail installation shops.”
“It is important that there be free trade in the auto glass industry to help small shops continue and to allow consumers to use whomever they want to use for auto glass repairs,” writes Jean Wool of Pennsylvania on the petition. “Please consider the consumers’ request for this right to fair trade. Thank you.”
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