Volume 12, Issue 2 - March/April 2010

Independent’s Day
an iga viewpoint

In God I Trust: All Others, Bring Data
by David Zoldowski

“I’ll believe it when I see it.” This is probably one of the more frustrating retorts in the English language. While this phrase may come up in conversations about unruly teenagers, politicians and teams with losing records, it also is one of the most common mantras of the auto glass industry. Independent shops will believe unfair business practices are being eliminated when they see it happen. More than anything, others will see steering for the serious problem it is when they see examples of how it is hurting each individual independent shop.

We all experience incidents of steering in our own shops, but often they go undetected outside of our front doors. It’s become the mission of the Independent Glass Association (IGA) to collect all of the data about these incidents in one place. Our anti-steering database is located at www.iga.org where you will find a button that says “Report Steering.”

Not only has the IGA vowed to collect these incidents, but we are recognizing the most shameful of these examples and making them public. While all private information will be kept confidential, the IGA will be releasing a “Steer of the Month” that will tell the story of an independent shop facing the practices of competitor-administrators.

The IGA will select the worst steering incident from the many incident reports being tabulated in our anti-steering database. The company that is selected each month will be in the running for the dubious honor “Steer of the Year” award to be presented at the 2010 IGA Annual Conference in May in Ft. Myers, Fla. While the monthly winner will receive a tongue-in-cheek anti-steering t-shirt, the IGA also will invite the member with the most egregious “Steer of the Year” to attend the IGA Spring Conference on Sanibel Island in Florida.

“The real winners, however, will be our industry, if we are successful in shining a light on unethical steering with real-life examples and hard data.”

This month’s “Steer of the Month” came through the IGA’s Steering Report Form in October. The shop’s employee attempted to file the claim via phone inside the shop with the insured present. The competitor-administrator asked to speak with the insured. Upon completion of the claims process the customer hung up the phone and began to walk out of the shop, looking quite frustrated. The employee asked if the competitor-administrator was able to help him file his claim and the customer stated, “Yeah, but they just took the business away from you guys. They are making me call this number now.” The competitor-administrator had told the customer to hang up and call their phone number to schedule an appointment with the glass company it owned.

If you experience a steering incident please log on to www.iga.org and click on the “Report Steering” button on the right side of the page. The IGA will treat all information that you share as confidential and we will not release any personal details in our “Steer of the Month” award.

David Zoldowski is the president of Auto One in Brighton, Mich., and president of the Independent Glass Association (IGA). Mr. Zoldowski’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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