Safelite AutoGlass - Smashed out my windshield, left a mess, then refused to install new windshield
On 6/23, USAA sent Safelite Auto Glass from Brandon FL to my house to replace the windshield on my work truck, a 1988 Ford F150. It’s not a beautiful truck, but it’s mechanically sound and I need it to get to and from work. There were 5 rock marks in the windshield and a couple weeks ago Sheriff’s Deputy gave me a polite, friendly recommendation (while at a convenience store) that I get it replaced because it might crack in the summer heat. That's the only reason I called them.
The Safelite technician came to my house while I was working (using a borrowed vehicle). He broke the window out of my truck – leaving broken glass in the cab and on my driveway – then covered the opening with plastic sheeting. He told my daughter “Tell your dad he needs to get this towed to a body shop and get the rust fixed before I’ll work on it.” Then he left – my truck completely undriveable with no windshield now.
When I came home, I looked at the truck and found that the only thing that was rusted was the stamped metal hold-down clips (these are designed to be replaced, $1.98 each online). There are 9 of them on the bottom of the windshield, 7 of which had rusted and needed replacing. The 4 clips on each side and the 7 clips on top (15 total) were fine and still covered by the original paint. The mounting pins for the clips that were rusted were fine (no rust) and the body was fine (about a one-inch-long spot of surface rust) – indicating that the clips could just be replaced as they were intended to be and the windshield installed. The technician hadn’t even taken the time to brush away the dirt to see this. You would EXPECT dirt to gather at the bottom of the windshield! I sent a picture to USAA and to Safelite that showed exactly what I’m telling you here.
I tried to get this resolved through USAA, who kept sending me over to Safelite – and Safelite just dug their heels even after I showed them a picture after I brushed away the dirt showing that there was no body rust. There answer was “Yes, but we still see a little rust, so we want you to have it towed to a body shop and have it fixed before we’ll put a windshield back in.” At worst, a little wire-brushing and a quick coat of Krylon would fix ANY concern they might have, but it's totally unnecessary even if I was to spend the 10 minutes it would take to do it myself. The truck has survived 26 years, still gets 15 mpg, doesn't burn oil, and I keep it in good working condition (I worked my way through college as an auto mechanic). I need it to get to and from work.
My problem is that the vendor (Safelite) was very eager to come replace my windshield at no cost to me, but NEVER warned me that they might smash out the windshield, leave glass everywhere, and then refuse to fix it. They left my now-unusable truck in my driveway and told me to get it towed at my cost. How does THAT happen? Has it ever happened to anyone else?
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