Long-term Goal: I will never do business with Safelite again and if the review listed below prevents Safelite from getting $450 of business, I rest my case!
It all started in January of 2012 when a dump truck on I-4 lost rocks out of the top of the trunk far in front of us. The damage to our windshield was very minimal but a friend suggested that we have this repaired as it is no cost through our current Florida Progressive policy. Upon calling Progressive insurance, they opened a "glass claim" and advised there would be no cost as a company can come out and repair the existing windshield. We asked Progressive if we could use a recommended company in our area and they strongly recommended that we use their partner "Safelite".
After initial review, I was hesitant to have this company come out to do the work, but I considered the recommendation by Safelite to be safe. After a day or so, Safelite was in our driveway at our home in Florida which has indoor and outdoor video/audio security surveillance. Safelite then proceeded to inspect the windshield and recommended that we have the entire windshield replaced due to some of the small dings in the glass being "too deep". Mind you, there were no dings that had cracking around them, but this company has been in business for years - and they are the professionals, not me.
We called Progressive to advise them of the recommendation made by the Safelite technician and they proceeded to schedule another Safelite technician to return with a new windshield at no charge. Apparently, there is no charge against the collision or comprehensive deductibles in Florida, so the windshield replacement is at no cost to the customer.
A new Safelite technician arrived and commenced the windshield replacement two days after the initial technician made the determination that we require a replacement. I would say it took the technician all of 45 minutes or so to remove and replace the new windshield. I couldn't believe it, in fact, while he was doing some of the work, I did glance a few times at my security system while working on some other tasks around the home. It is amazing that this company can come out mobile and do this type of work and so quickly. Or is it too good to be true? From the outside, it appeared the technician did a wonderful job, but apparently that was not the case.
We were advised to wait until the afternoon to drive the vehicle, so we waited until the next day to be safe. We found the Safelite technician did a very sloppy job at cleanup in the vehicle. There was a black substance on the driver and passenger leather, grey seats which I'm guessing is the glue that holds the window in place. In addition, there were some black smudge marks left where the headliners meets the windshield. At this point, the wife and I were certainly not happy about this; however, with a little cleaners in the garage and some elbow grease, we were able to remove most of the areas as if they were new again.
One of our big concerns was will the new windshield leak? Progressive representatives and Safelite technicians assured that a new windshield is installed and carries a lifetime warranty - if there are "every any leaking issues, you call Safelite and they will return to fix or replace the windshield". In January, Deltona, Florida had zero rainfall - "Reference: http://www.noreens.net/weather/wxhistory.php?date=201201 ".
My wife had accepted a position in Pennsylvania and in late January, I left Florida to drive her and some of her belongings to PA. On the way up, we hit a few rain drops, but nothing significant with the exception of fog and lots of deer along I-95. By this time, I had forgotten about the windshield replacement as it was second nature and there were many other things on our mind.
The evening we arrived in Pennsylvania, there was a huge front moving in. At first, they predicted it would be a snow storm, but the precipitation was all rain, all night and throughout the next day. Our Realtor came to pick us up in her vehicle to look at houses before I flew back to Florida so the car literally sat still, outside, for over 24 hours in the rain. On our return, we found the headliner by the windshield were very damp and there was a puddle of water on the passenger side floor. We dried everything up and immediately called Progressive to report this issue. Progressive was our liaison with Safelite in most of the next steps. Progressive rescheduled Safelite via the Allentown, PA Safelite store to come out to her place of work. Meanwhile, I returned to our Florida home as my time was up and my wife started her new position.
When home in Florida, I decided to review the video DVR system so I can review the replacement of the windshield. I have to say again how fast they take these windows out and put a new one in was amazing. One thing I did notice upon reviewing the DVR is the technician was stepping up on our floor boards and leaning on the sunroof of our vehicle. I thought this was odd the amount of pressure he was placing on the floor board and sunroof to get this windshield in place. You would've thought to be prepared with a ladder in the event of this scenario.
Since my wife was not returning to Florida anytime soon, she setup an appointment at her place of work through the Safelite store in Allentown, PA where they were able to visually inspect the windshield in the parking lot. The Safelite technician contacted me as the primary contact and wanted to replace the window again! I questioned the technician and asked about the alternatives. He replied that there were no signs of leaking, but they would need to reschedule another time to visit the Allentown store to have the windshield pressure tested. Since my wife works during the week, we scheduled this for the following Saturday. Saturday came and Safelite determined there was a minor leak in the window, which they repaired. Safelite also opened the sunroof and found two clips broken which held the sunroof deflector in place but also helped secure/seal the sunroof when closed. My wife called and advised on what Safelite has found and I spoke personally with the technician on the findings. I then advised what I reviewed on the video system and advised that we've never had any type of leaking before this date from the windshield or sunroof and the clips that were now broken after the window replacement need to be resolved. In addition to this phone call, I've also called Progressive to document this case.
When getting the car back from Safelite this second time, the sloppy work again with grease marks on the headliner occurred again - even after verbally advising them of the first technician in Florida! Rain continued to fall in Pennsylvania instead of snow this winter and we were now in February of 2012. Progressive Insurance was our liaison between Safelite at this point and the companies continued to talk about this claim. Safelite spoke with the manager of the Allentown, PA store and the technician about the issue on numerous occasions. Safelite wanted to re-inspect the car for a third time in PA and so we agreed even though we were frustrated. The Safelite technician clearly blamed the previous Safelite technician in Florid for the sunroof damages after this inspection. Progressive did follow up after this inspection with the Safelite manager at the Allentown, PA location. Keep in mind that "all calls may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes". The Safelite manager agreed to pay for the damages to the Progressive representative. Progressive then had me take my car into the nearest Chevy dealer for a quote.
Keep in mind, there was a lot of rain instead of snow and the process between Safelite inspections and the verbal agreement to pay for damages brought us well into February of 2012. The Chevy dealer was able to inspect the windshield, headliner, and water damage that occurred. We received a quote to replace the deflector clips which was causing the leaking from the sunroof. In addition, the Chevy dealer quoted the head-liner which needed to be replaced due to water staining and the blower resister which was damaged due to the water seeping in from the sunroof. The quote was faxed to the Safelite corporate office for their review and it came to $450, including parts and labor.
Now the waiting game... since there was so much rain, the car continued to have water each time. Unfortunately, my wife did not have a garage to park the car in at night nor does she have covered parking at her place of work. After numerous calls to Progressive, Safelite was not responding. Finally in early March, Progressive was able to reach the Safelite executive services department. Safelite was now refusing to pay for the damages that the Allentown, PA manager verbally agreed to. At this point, Progressive advised they were undergoing internal research.
We were advised the internal research would take 7-10 business days. So again, I called back into our insurance company to get an update. Apparently, Progressive found the recorded phone call between Progressive and Safelite where the manager of Safelite confirmed the damage was caused by the Safelite technician in Florida and that they would take full responsibility of the damages. This recording was not only played back on the Progressive side, but Progressive provided this to Safelite executive services. Even after the audio recording was reviewed by Safelite, they continued to refuse all repair services on our vehicular.
Now that the facts are stated above, I want to give my input on the entire situation. First, Safelite should honor their word, which was recorded on audio and video for the damages they have caused. However, even after review, they still refused to pay for the damage. Backing out of this type of repair is totally unethical and we feel do to their large size and partnership with insurance companies that they can run their business like the "wild west". Second, Progressive should have fought this tooth and nail since Safelite is apparently a preferred partner. How could you take the side of your partner over the customer who is paying? I've been a Progressive customer for many years and am at the top status (I believe Platinum). We are thinking about dropping Progressive next renewal because of this very reason.
Ending: Even though Safelite verbally agreed, on a Progressive recording, to pay for the cost of repair, the ultimately refused. We paid $450 out of pocket to resolve this issue as if we let it continue, it would have cause significant damages (beyond what it was already) to the inside of the car.