Marc Anderson, executive director of the Independent Glass Association (IGA) headquartered in Hopkins, Minn., issued the following statement in response to the Safelite press release, which appeared on glassBYTES last week:
IGA Responds to Safelite Press Release
It's a little frustrating to have the only lawsuit ever which is on
track to derail steering, and see from the postings on the message boards
that some people have chosen to believe Safelite's spin that we 'have
already lost' instead of our explanation. Here, we were thinking we've
Here is the most important thing you need to know. We could have filed
only the one claim where we have consumers who were steered and who
represent all consumers. Had we done that, no claims would have been
dismissed. Our victory would be perfectly clear. We decided, instead,
to attack steering several different ways and it is those other claims
that were dismissed. That in no way diminishes the viability of this
as an anti steering lawsuit.
Safelite's piece on GlassBYTEs last Thursday was misleading.
For example, they said, "We are pleased all allegations by
the IGA have been soundly rejected by the Court." This implies
that the allegations were found to be untrue. The court ruled only that
the IGA did not have technical legal "standing" to assert
the allegations, even if they were true. The IGA alleged that Safelite
is lying to consumers when it tells them that the glass shops on "The
List" might force customers to pay out-of-pocket if the insurance
company does not pay the glass shop's invoice in full. The court did
not "reject" those allegations; it only found that the IGA
was not the proper party to make them. The court did this because some
IGA members do, in fact, attempt to bill their customers for insurance
company short pays. Therefore, only the affected glass shops can complain,
not the IGA in general.
Safelite said, "We are pleased the bulk of this case has been
thrown out at this early stage of the litigation."
This is misleading because it implies that we are left without the
ability to get most, or the bulk, of the relief we seek. We are attempting
to get an injunction against Safelite to prevent it from lying about
the business practices of IGA members. This was "the bulk"
of our case and this has not been "thrown out." Moreover,
the quoted sentence implies that the claims that were "thrown out"
were thrown out on their merits rather than because the IGA lacks technical
"It is unfortunate the IGA refused Safelite's suggestion that
the parties work together collaboratively to resolve their concerns
prior to the suit being filed."
This sentence is flat-out false. It was the IGA that first requested
cooperation when it created "The List.". At that time, the
IGA attempted to establish a regime under which the IGA could inform
Safelite about which glass shops do and which glass shops do not bill
back short pays so that Safelite could stop negligently but purposely
misleading consumers. Safelite stubbornly refused all our attempts to
negotiate about this. Only when Safelite was told that the lawsuit was
irretrievably and physically on its way to being filed did Safelite
try to suggest cooperation.
But even then we said they could ignore the filing, delay answering,
and simply negotiate anyway. Safelite refused, showing they weren't
"We firmly believe the auto glass industry would be better
served by focusing its time, energy and resources on the quality, service,
and value it provides to consumers."
If you are a glass shop, then you are aware of Safelite's practices
and you can fully appreciate how insulting this remark really is.
We should add that Safelite never denied the factual claims made against
it. That is, Safelite never denied that it "steered" our consumer
plaintiff by lying to him. And the judge did not dismiss the consumer's
claims about that for himself and all other similarly situated consumers.
As well, Safelite never denied that it is adjusting glass claims in
Minnesota and many other states without a required insurance adjusters
license (a license which would give state regulators authority to control
some of Safelite's worst practices). Again, it was only that the IGA
was not the proper party to enforce the law about this that caused the
court to dismiss these IGA claims.
Safelite did not deny that it was violating the law nor did the court
find that Safelite was complying with the law - the court only found
that the IGA was not the proper party to enforce the violation.
To use a football analogy, Safelite has too many players on the field
and everyone in the stands can see that. Safelite is bragging now only
because no referee has made the proper call yet. But Safelite has broken
the rules and the game is not over.
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