Virginia "Windshield Bully" Warning
Spurred by Consumer Concerns, NICB Report, Officer Says
January 20, 2011
In light of a recent report
from a Virginia television station featuring a state trooper warning
consumers to beware of "windshield bullies," Sgt. J.C.
Miers with the Virginia State Police says the warning came about
after his office and the TV station that conducted the report received
some complaints from consumers in Richmond, Va., about some allegedly
aggressive tactics being used for auto glass sales.
"As far as windshield bullies themselves we've received reports
from Richmond City, and obviously the news station that did [the
report] has a viewer helpline had gotten several calls," Miers
told glassBYTEs.com/AGRR magazine in an interview late
yesterday. "They got a number of complaints and, of course
right around the time the reporter was wanting to do the story,
we'd gotten a notification from the NICB [National
Insurance Crime Bureau] [about the rise in questionable claims]."
"Carwash" sales are the main concern about which he's
heard, Miers said.
"In some cases we've heard reports that [the salespeople]
have been at a carwash and said 'oh I see your windshield is broken,'"
he said. "We've not heard of any specific reports in Virginia
where they've gone through a neighborhood and actually broken the
glass, but [I've heard] in other states they have."
Likewise, Miers says one consumer complained that he was notified
by his insurer that they'd received an auto glass claim, but claimed
to have not had any work done.
However, the officer said no conclusion had been reached about
how this had happened.
We're looking into that," he said. "That
could be a number of things
It could have been a typographical
error, it might be something simple as that."
Miers said he hasn't heard of any specific companies named by consumers.
"[Consumers sometimes] don't even take note of what the company
is-[they say] 'it was a white van with glass racks on it, or a white
pickup truck,'" he says. "Just about every glass company
uses white vans or pickup trucks."
However, Miers adds that, though the department has received more
complaints about this issue, the number of reports still is not
"Last year we saw more reports than any others," he says.
"It's not a significant amount that has been reported to us.
I'm talking around 20 or so
That's about 1 percent of all
the notifications we getnot even thatand the fact of
the matter there is that people might complain to the Better Business
Bureau and it never gets reported to us, simply because they didn't
like the way the business was conducted."
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