Washington State Glass Company Ordered to Stop Issuing Rebates
The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) issued a cease and desist order to Cascade Auto Glass of Vancouver, Wash. for Cascade's alleged policy of offering rebates of up to $150 to customers who had their windshields repaired or replaced at the shop.
In response to a complaint filed in the Consumer Advocacy Division in November, the OIC initiated an investigation of the alleged rebate offer. According to Bill Ripple, an OIC spokesperson, an OIC investigator was offered $150.00 in free gasoline when seeking a quote for a windshield replacement on two separate occasions. Ripple also noted that there is a coupon good for "$150 in free gas" available on the Cascade Auto Glass website.
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Ripple also noted that it is the job of the OIC to regulate insurers, and as Cascade Auto Glass is not an insurer the order, for the time being, has no authority, and that the OIC can, "just tell them to stop doing it." Ripple went on to say that, if the alleged action then continues the OIC would contact local prosecutors to pursue the matter further. The alleged rebate offer is in violation of Washington State law which states that "It is unlawful for a service provider to engage in a regular practice of waiving, rebating, giving, paying, or offering to waive, rebate, give, or pay all or any part of a claimant's casualty or property insurance deductible."
In a written statement to glassBYTEs.com Brad Nelson, vice president of Cascade Auto Glass stated the company's strong opposition to the ruling.
"Cascade strongly believes that the order should not have been issued. Cascade does not waive or rebate deductibles in the State of Washington where such conduct is illegal. Unfortunately, the representative of the Insurance Commissioner who has been pursuing this has not gotten her facts straight yet."
According to Nelson, it is Cascade's position that the investigator from the OIC had not actually spoken to representatives from his company, but had mistakenly contacted another auto glass business.
"We know that there are other glass companies in Washington that utilize the Cascade name. We also know that deductible waiving and rebating is widespread in the state," said Nelson, who went on to state, "Cascade Auto Glass, however, does not waive or rebate deductibles. Any and all promotions that we run in the State of Washington are without regard to the existence of insurance coverage or the existence or amount of a customer's insurance deductible."
Nelson noted that it is Cascade's intention to "demand a hearing
on the validity of the cease and desist order
to establish that
we are in full compliance with Washington's restrictions."
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