Repair Attack Continues
by Bill Batley
The Independent Glass Association (IGA) launched the first salvo in its continuing attack on windshield repair on July 25. Immediately following the release of an IGA-commissioned study, “Is Windshield Repair Safe?” a firestorm of protest against the study’s conclusions and methodology arose from many quarters, including windshield repair professionals ranging from independent businesspeople to the largest players in the industry. They were united in their condemnation of the study and their support of the consumer’s right to choose windshield repair. At the recent emergency National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) board meeting called to address this study, IGA chief executive officer Tim Smale requested (and was granted) the opportunity to address the board. After this address and after reading press reports of the meeting, many thought the matter was resolved. Well, guess again.
We recently became privy to a private letter from a highly-placed IGA source who refers to ridding ourselves, not of laminated glass, but rather damaged glass, and another highly-placed individual with IGA has admitted that the association would like to limit repair. Do you conclude that the attack is over or just started? We think there are powerful people and organizations that want to stop or severely limit windshield repair for their own self-interests and are trying to manufacture a safety issue to complete the task. These people have tried to limit or eliminate repair for years—sometimes quietly behind the scenes, other times publicly. The battle is far from over.
A Safety Issue?
In regard to the safety issue, there is no problem and there never was any problem. The spalling/PVB/moisture issue has been around a long time—20 years or more. Lots of people have studied it. No one has ever demonstrated any safety problem regarding repair. But the anti-repair crowd keeps bringing up this issue. Perhaps those who wish to ban repair have decided that if they talk loud enough, long enough and do enough irrelevant studies that someone somewhere will listen. Perhaps they hope that some regulatory body will start the process of banning or severely limiting repair for them.
The NWRA needs your support to repel these attackers. Your industry needs you to voice your opinion, to participate in the discussions at all levels, to stand up for what is right and to not let your guard down. We need your continued NWRA membership and we need you to come to our annual conference in Orlando, Fla., January 17-18, 2004. And, we need you to show the world that you support repair and that you won’t be railroaded out of business on smoke and mirror issues.
Bill Batley is the president of Novus Windshield Repair in Bellevue, Wash., and the president of the National Windshield Repair Association.
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