Volume 15, Issue 1 - January/February 2013
One of the most notable reports was done by Sacramento, Calif.-based reporter Kurtis Ming of the city’s CBS13. Ming had received complaints from some viewers about shoddy work being done by a local auto glass company and sought to explore the issue.
“I was surprised to know anyone can be an installer,” says Ming. “In California, you must be registered with the state’s Bureau of Automotive Repair. I could cut the state a check today, fill out a few forms and then someone could legally hire me to install a critical part of their car. I’m not sure a customer would ever realize that.”
Ming also reviewed several reports filed with the Better Business Bureau about one company, Mike’s Mobile Glass.
“I read all of the complaints and saw a pattern. We decided we wanted to see first-hand the type of work this company was doing,” says Ming. “I reached out to [AGSC president] Debra Levy to see if she knew of anyone personally impacted from a faulty installation, which put us in touch with Jon Fransway. It’s important to put a face to any important story. Unfortunately, it was the face of Jeanne Fransway who lost her life. We then worked with Deb to find experts who could review our tape and point out the concerns if any, they had with the installation. [AGSC standards committee chair] Bob Beranek drove nine hours roundtrip to our affiliate in Minneapolis to help analyze our video and share his expertise.”
The station ultimately ran a report about the issue both in Sacramento and on Minnesota’s WCCO. The reports included an interview with Beranek, along with an undercover glimpse into Mike’s Mobile Glass’ work, and an interview with Jon Fransway. In addition, the Sacramento report also featured Dan Povey, an investigator from the California Bureau of Automotive Repair, who briefed CBS13 as well as viewers, about what poorly replaced windshields can look like.
“I was also surprised to see state video that showed a windshield pop out four days after installation, just by slamming the door shut,” says Ming. “I was disappointed to know it’s next to impossible to know the scope of the problem. We reached out to our first responders who say there is no special box to mark on their reports when it comes to whether the windshield came detached from the vehicle in an accident. I’d like to know how many people have died or been injured from faulty installations. I haven’t learned of one agency in this country that can tell you.”
Just a few months after Ming’s report aired, Louisville’s Channel 11 Great Day Live featured an interview with AGSC vice president David Rohlfing, along with a proper installation demonstration by Jamie Browning, the 2009 winner of the Auto Glass Technician Olympics. Holly Biller, vice president of media services for Key Communications Inc. was included for her role as master of ceremonies for the recent Auto Glass Week event. The segment took the viewer partially through a windshield replacement following the AGSC’s AGRSS® Standard and also featured the Auto Glass Technician Olympics—a competition based on the AGRSS Standard.
In November, a CBS station in New York also aired an investigative report about improper windshield installations detailing issues consumers need to watch out for when getting a windshield replaced.