WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–You are loading groceries in the back of your car and a stranger
approaches, offering to quickly fix the small crack in your windshield.
Be aware, it may be a scam.
GEICO wants to alert consumers to suspicious “glass repair technicians”
working the parking lots of gas stations, car washes and supermarkets
looking for their next victim. They overcharge consumers for improper
and unsafe windshield repairs and fleece insurance companies with bogus
or inflated repair claims.
GEICO endorses several recommendations that the National Insurance Crime
Bureau offers to prevent glass repair scams:
Be aware of random solicitations in parking lots – Everyone
that approaches you in a parking lot is not out to get you. But be
aware of aggressive scam artists who solicit repairs on your vehicle.
Most fraudsters will try to lure you in with freebies and discounts.
Never let someone pressure you into hiring them on the spot.
Ask for identification – Most scammers aren’t willing to
provide their personal information. Ask for a driver’s license and the
repair company’s telephone number and fixed address. If they are in a
vehicle, write down the license plate number.
Contact your insurance company first – You should always
contact your insurance company before you let anyone repair your
vehicle. Your insurance carrier can also recommend a quality repair
shop to ensure that you will not get fleeced.
Get more than one estimate – Getting more than one
estimate is a good way to prevent from being overcharged for work
that’s being done. The multiple estimates provide a price comparison
of the actual repair costs.
Get everything in writing – It’s always a smart business
practice to get everything in writing. Make sure that the company
guarantees (total cost, work to be done, time schedule, payment) all
repairs with a written warranty.
Ask for references – If the glass repair company is reputable,
they will be happy to connect you to past customers that can vouch for
their work. Multiple references will provide you with a snapshot of
the repair company’s service and reputation.
Review your documents – Inspect your documents to ensure all
the repair charges are accurate and honest. Once fraudsters have your
insurance information, they may charge your auto policy for inflated
charges long after they have disappeared.
Never sign a blank contract – Signing a blank contract
is never a good idea. Scammers can add unacceptable terms to a blank
contract at a later time. After the repairs are done, contact your
insurance company to make sure there aren’t any additional or false
claims being filed against your auto policy.
Make sure you are satisfied with the work – Never pay
for repairs unless the work is complete and you are fully satisfied.
Your money gives you some leverage that the work will be done up to