Volume 10, Issue 6 - November/December 2008

R e p a i r R o u n d U p

The Idiot’s Guide to Windshield Repair
by Pa u l S y f ko

THIS SUMMER TWO DISTURBing events affected the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) members and the image of the entire trade. The disturbing part of each event is that they are both unique examples of the lack of familiarity the general public has, not only windshield repair, but about the auto glass industry as a whole.

The Other White Meat
The first event occurred early this summer in Family Circle magazine and has to do with the other white meat; pork. NWRA staff came across an ad that created a dangerous misrepresentation of windshield repair. A full-page color ad for pork products by the National Pork Board was published in several issues and compared pork with fingernail polish. The offending language likened clear fingernail polish to “the estrogen equivalent of duct tape” and stated that some women use it to “fix just about everything—a run in my stockings, a chip in my windshield …” [my italics]. Not only was this ad most likely sexist, it was not even close to providing any assistance for rock chips. Family Circle reaches over 23 million subscribers every issue.

After we at NWRA were finished with our piggy jokes and our disgust with the ignorance and sexism of the ad, we immediately became concerned that a well-meaning reader would take this information to heart and possibly attempt to use clear nail polish as a remedy for a chipped windshield. Therefore NWRA took time and contacted both Steve Murphy, the chief executive officer of the National Pork Board, and LindaFears, editor-in-chief of Family Circle magazine, informing them of the impropriety of the language and requesting that the advertisements be pulled. NWRA also requested the publications run corrected information. NWRA has since received word from the National Pork Board confirming that the advertisement will no longer be published. NWRA is still waiting for a reply from Family Circle and will continue to push for a correction by that publication. I would encourage AGRR readers to inform NWRA if they see such misleading ads in other magazines.

Loan Sharks
The second disturbing event of the summer involved NWRA member Michelle Rantuccio of the WindshieldRepair Center in New Jersey. Michelle recently ran into some difficulty when she began searching for a new home in South Carolina. Hoping to expand her windshield repair business into South Carolina along with her move, she wastold by her lender, Shore Mortgage Co., that she was not eligible for a residential mortgage. Shore Mortgage informed Michelle that windshield repair companies were not considered mobile businesses and she could not run one from her residence without the proper coverage on the home. Since Michelle and her husband already operate two repair locations in the New Jersey and Philadelphia areas, she contacted NWRA to draft a letter on her behalf to her ignorant lender. Unfortunately for Michelle, the mortgage company responded to her and our protests stating that they could not “verify her information” and denied the loan. They did so even after she provided them letters from her Congressman in New Jersey, her accountant and, of course, NWRA. The mortgage delay resulted in thousands of dollars in penalties from her builder because he was unable to start construction on her home according to their contract. (And some still wonder why the housing market is in such dire straights.)

As you can see, NWRA had a wonderful time this summer being educated about the windshield repair industry by pig farmers and loan sharks. These are just a few examples of the threats that NWRA directors, staff and members respond to on a daily basis. But we are happy to do it and through programs like our green initiative, new NWRA consumer website (coming soon) and windshield repair certification, we will slowly provide our membership with the consumer awareness they need to increase the number of repairs done every year. Oink-oink!

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