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 significant.

"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 get—not even that—and 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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