If the Senate Bill 1410 recently passed in Arizona becomes law, auto glass shops that neglect to tell customers about calibration before they begin a glass replacement would be fined $2,500 —each time.
The bill requires that customers be informed before a repair or replacement if recalibration is necessary on a vehicle. Glass shops would also be required to meet or exceed manufacturer specifications and provide customers with itemized descriptions of work completed on their vehicles. Auto glass facilities may not represent to customers that insurance will pay the entire amount of services unless the customer’s auto insurance policy fully covers services.
Violation of the bill would place a $2,500 penalty fee on the auto glass facility.
Kerry Soat is CEO of Fas-Break Inc. and maintains four shops and three mobile technicians in the state. “You can call it a consumer protection bill, but it’s protecting the insurance companies mainly,” he said.
Safelite supports the bill and company representatives testified in support of it during Arizona House and Senate hearings. Soat does not.
“At the end of the day, how is a glass shop going to know they’re in violation?” Soat says. “Some shops do as many as 25 jobs per day.” Soat says if the insurance companies waited until an auto glass shop committed 100 violations, the penalty fee would total $250,000. “That’s a business buster,” Soat says.
Soat sent letters to the legislators after the bill was initially introduced and before the bill was rewritten with an increased penalty fee from $500 to $2,500. “But, I never expected them to change the penalty from $500 to $2,500,” he says. Soat believes someone increased the penalty fee “to take advantage of a bad situation.”
Soat is concerned about auto glass shops that are not educated about the bill. He explained it to his employees at Best Glass in Phoenix. “They didn’t see anything wrong with this bill because they don’t see themselves violating it,” he says. Soat is especially concerned for auto glass shops that outsource their recalibration services. Estimating the cost of recalibration when another company is performing that service is difficult. “The poor guy who doesn’t know about this bill is going to be the one who gets hit [with a penalty fee],” Soat says.
Soat would prefer to see the penalty fee return to $500 or have the insurance companies notify auto glass shops of a violation immediately. “So the third-party administrator doesn’t have the ability to allow [glass shops] to sink themselves.”