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Volume 7, Issue 1        January/February 2005

WGR Reports
     Repair News

LEGAL

Conn. Commissioner Issues Temporary Limited Auto Glass Repair License
The topic of licensing for auto glass repair technicians in Connecticut took an unexpected, and possibly final, turn on Friday, December 17, 2004. At a meeting of the state’s Automotive Glass Work and Flat Glass Work Board, members received a copy of an application for a temporary limited Auto Glass repair license and the definitions of what would constitute the licenses as developed by the state commissioner of consumer protection, Edwin Rodriguez, who oversees the board but does not attend its regular meetings.

The temporary license, which caught the board and audience members by surprise, was top priority at the meeting, with some members of the board voicing concern as to the creation of the license with apparent disregard and disinterest in the board’s work over the past year of meetings on the issue.

Board member John Wisniewski of PayLess Auto Glass noted that the board never got the meeting they requested with the Commissioner.

“After the last meeting, Mary [Grabowski], who was acting [chairperson], requested a formal meeting for all of us to sit with Commissioner Rodriguez and we were never granted that,” Wisniewski said. “I’m under the understanding that Safelite and a team of lawyers were granted that [and] the message that sends the board is that we’re immaterial. I don’t think we should vote until we meet with him, especially since he is entertaining other people on the same subject. I would feel much more comfortable hearing that from Mr. Rodriguez, but he won’t meet with us.”

While Wisniewski was sharing his concerns, addressing them to the deputy commissioner present, an office aide summoned Deputy Commissioner Jerry Farrell from the room, a call he answered immediately, leaving Wisniewski mid-sentence. He did not return.

Grabowski agreed with Wisniewski, going on record with her disgust over the situation.

“I would have to agree with John,” she said. “I would like to go on record, too, saying that I feel insulted. I got this [holding up the application] this morning. I don’t know if anyone got it last night, but I feel we’re useless if he’s going to sit down with people in the industry … and then sends a deputy commissioner I feel sorry for, to take the blame.”

Board chairperson Edward Fusco reminded the board members that the concern before them was really about public safety and pushed the board to vote.

“We’re not going to make a motion. We have to put something on the board,” he said. 

Though of the opinion that the one repair in the wiper sweep area was still fairly limiting, Mike Boyle, president of Glas-Weld Systems, described the license as a step forward.

“The fact that the commissioner met without your knowledge and those type things, I don’t think that’s right either. I’ve spent too much time and money here to have someone in another office … throw everything out the window, but … he’s trying to do the right thing,” Boyle said. “What [the temporary license] basically says is that a [Repair of Auto Glass Standards, (RoAGS)] committee is going to spend thousands of dollars and provide worldwide data to create a standard … you can then go back and say, ‘this is the right thing to do.’ The standard will define proper repair by the proper people. Until then, it’s a good standard that at least gets this issue moving forward.”

After the points of conflict were discussed in full, Fusco said that, ultimately, the temporary limited repair license before the board was to take affect immediately, and the board was voting on whether or not to endorse it.

“You’re giving your blessing, of sorts,” he said.

Calling for a vote on the temporary limited repair license, Carl Von Dassell of Tri-State Glass and Fusco voted in favor, members Wisniewski, Kurt Muller of Auto Glass Express and Bob Steben of Ed Steben Glass Co. voted against it and public member Mary Grabowski chose to abstain from voting.

Meetings of the Automotive Glass Work and Flat Glass Work Board will resume on February 25, 2004.

Campfield Sues State Farm and Lynx Services
Richard Campfield, president of Colo.-based UltraBond has filed suit against State Farm insurance agency and LYNX Services from PPG alleging violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) and Colorado state law prohibiting tortuous interference with existing and prospective business contracts. Both State Farm and LYNX Services filed motions to dismiss the case but the judge’s ruling in September will keep the case going on at least two of the claims.

Judge Robert Blackburn of the U.S. District Court in Denver, Colo. ruled that “the plain language of the [CCPA] statute appears to give the plaintiffs standing,” allowing Campfield to pursue the violation of CCPA. The judge further denied motions to dismiss the claims holding LYNX liable to the CCPA, noting that the argument that it only offers claims adjusting runs counter to allegations in the complaint that point out windshield manufacturer PPG’s ownership of LYNX. Blackburn also ruled against motions to dismiss the claims of tortuous interference with existing and prospective business relations on the grounds that while the defendants in the case (State Farm and LYNX) say that Campfield cannot identify any particular contract with which they allegedly interfered, Campfield’s claim that the number of UltraBond licensees has gone from 1400 to “only a few hundred” is sufficient to survive the motion to dismiss.

Blackburn dismissed anti-trust claims, citing that “plaintiffs cannot conjure an anti-trust injury out of a mere business dispute simply by artificially defining the relevant market in such narrow terms.”

State Farm issued the following statement to AGRR magazine: “State Farm is pleased that the judge has dismissed, as a matter of law, all of the federal anti-trust claims by the plaintiffs in the case. We believe the remaining state law claims are without merit and we intend to vigorously contest them.”

PPG declined to comment.

TECHNOLOGY

Online Forums Offered
Two new online forums have been created for members of the auto glass industry . 
Glass Technology of Durango, Colo., has created Autoglass Forum, which is subdivided into windshield repair, scratch removal and windshield replacement sections. 

To participate in the forum visit www.auto-glass-forum.com

Eugene, Ore.-based Delta Kits has also created a forum for the auto glass technician. The website features boards for auto glass repair and replacement, as well as a board for dent repair and a “water cooler” board. 

To participate in the forum visit www.windshield-repair-forum.com

Delta Kits Conducted 2004 SEMA Windshield Repair Technical Seminar
As part of the 2004 convention and trade show at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) sponsored an educational seminar on the subject of windshield repair. The seminar covered the technical aspects and practical application of adding windshield repair to any existing automotive business.

“Windshield repair has become a very popular add-on profit center for those in just about any business that involves automobiles,” said Matt Larson, Delta Kits, Inc. sales and training director. “Our goal at Delta Kits is to ensure that the windshield repair professionals that we train are performing the highest quality repairs in the industry and we take our job very seriously.”

The company will offer an educational seminar at the Independents’ Days National Convention in Orlando, February 25-26, 2005. 

Glass Technology Introduces Spectrum™ for Windshield Repair
Glass Technology of Durango, Colo. has introduced what it calls a revolution to windshield repair, the Spectrum windshield repair system. The Spectrum offers hand-held Pre-Resin Injection Suspension Method (PRISM™) technology.

Direct air-to-air extraction occurs while the resin is held in a suspension chamber. Upon completion of the vacuum cycle, the suspension chamber releases the resin into the injector chamber, replacing the extracted air in the break with resin. 

Patent pending, the Spectrum is offered exclusively through Glass Technology Inc. 
www.glass.com/info

NWRA and AGRR Magazine to Survey Windshield Repair Industry
AGRR magazine and NWRA have announced a cooperative research project to provide a benchmark survey of industry ratios and other information for the windshield repair industry and for windshield repair profit centers in auto glass replacement and body shops. Survey results will be available free of charge to all NWRA members who participate.

“This survey is designed to help repair companies compare themselves against industry statistics,” said NWRA president Paul Syfko. “It’s hard to know how you are doing unless you know how others are doing.”

The survey will also provide information about how much the average repair company spends on labor, materials, advertising and marketing, owner compensation and more. This survey will be repeated every two years and historical information about the industry kept as well.

Members of the repair industry should watch their mail for survey form in the later part of November. All information will be pooled and no information connected with your company will ever be released or eve kept. If you would like to participate in the survey you can sign up online at http://www.agrrmag.com/register.php.

Glass Pro Systems Awarded Second Patent
Glass Pro Systems of Monroe, Wis., has recently been granted a second patent on “The Cinch,” its auto glass repair device.

Patent number 6,663,371 was recently awarded to Michael Curl, owner of Glass Pro Systems, following an earlier patent issued this fall. The Cinch uses dual vacuum chambers to pull air and moisture from damaged windshields before resin contacts the glass.

Curl offers hands-on training for the system at company headquarters.
www.glass.com/info.

Windshield Repair Owner Hitting the Links with New Invention
Dale Matthews, owner of Perfection Window Repair in Muncie, Ind., took up golf five years ago and has noticed the difference between a clean and dirty golf ball when it comes to play. Matthews created a portable golf ball cleaner, which he not only carries with him but also has started selling at a local retail store in his hometown.


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