Apr 9, 2014

Autoglass and LV Insurance – seven day delay to replace windscreen due to lack of staff

A member of staff at “Whistle Blowers” had the misfortune to insure a vehicle with LV (Liverpool Victoria) who contract with Autoglass to provided windscreen repair/replacement for their customers.

The LV policy document provides a contact number for windscreen replacement, under the guise of the “Highway Glass Line, in association with Autoglass.”  In essence the telephone number connects you directly with Autoglass.

The LV policy documentation does not advise the policyholder that he or she can also use AA Autowindshield,   National Windscreens, or Autowindscreens – the details of these companies are invisible, as are their contact numbers.  As a result of our experience, “Whistle Blowers” would highly recommend National Windscreens and most certainly, would use AA Autowindshield or Autowindscreens rather than Autoglass (see below)

In the case of our staff member, he had his vehicle booked in for a service and MOT test, some 50 miles from his home address.  On the way to the dealership, the windscreen was chipped within the “A” zone (the area where visibility is impaired) and needless to say, on safety grounds, the vehicle failed the MOT.

One of the journalists at “Whistle Blowers” contacted the “Highway Glass Line,” explained the problem and asked for immediate assistance.  Autoglass, refused to attend the vehicle, stating they worked on an appointment basis only; the journalist was advised to drive the vehicle back to their home address, despite the fact the windscreen presented a safety hazard and had failed the MOT because of the reduced visibility – the representative stated the earliest appointment for a technician to attend would be in two days’ time.

All calls at “Whistle Blowers” are automatically recorded and in a separate telephone call, the journalist waited over 20 minutes, whilst he was placed on hold, waiting to speak with a manager.  In the end he hung up!  Eventually, he received a call, asking him to contact, “Julie” at the call centre.  In this recorded call, despite his protestations, the journalist was advised he should ignore the safety warning and MOT failure.  He was told to drive the vehicle to his home address, where it could be repaired the following day.  The journalist was informed the MOT test was a separate procedure and the fact the vehicle was a safety hazard could be ignored (Autoglass also record their telephone calls).

In a further recorded conversation with Richard Black, a customer care advisor at Autoglass, the journalist was told Autoglass lacked the staff to deal with the number of calls they receive and that if the windscreen needed to be replaced, then the wait would be far longer than for a repair.  He was advised to contact his insurers, LV and instruct them to have the vehicle “relayed” to his home address (the trade cost to LV for a replacement windscreen would have been less that £100, less the £75 excess paid by the insured person/company – an expenditure of £25, far below the cost of the vehicle being transported).

The following day a technician from Autoglass attended.  He could not repair the windscreen and informed our staff member, the windscreen was a stock item, which could only be fitted in seven days’ time.  He confessed that although the windscreen was readily available, it could not be fitted because of “lack of staff.”  In essence it meant the vehicle was not drivable and the journalist would have to pay for a further MOT test (following a MOT failure, you have seven days to have a vehicle re-examined).

As a result, the journalist contacted his broker and was supplied with details of the other windscreen replacement companies used by LV (but not included in the policy documentation).  The broker, H J Pook, could not provide a rational explanation for the details being withheld from the policy documentation and only became aware of them following the protestation by the journalist.
The journalist contacted all three windscreen replacement companies, provided to him.  One of them, National Windscreens, contactable on 0800 834323 or 0800 622122, were helpful in the extreme (in addition to the excellent service, the call was answered by a real person rather than an automated system).  They attended the same day.  The others, AA Autowindshields, and Autowindscreens could replace the windscreen the following day, six days earlier than Autoglass.

“Whistle Blowers” have learned of other incidents involving Autoglass, where the wait for a replacement windscreen has been in excess of seven days.  In one instance a driver of a Jaguar is alleged to have waited 10 days.  We are told Autoglass always take a minimum of seven days to replace a windscreen but we cannot yet verify this.

We understand some insurers, intermediaries and brokers (including Direct Line) exclusively use Autoglass and we are told excessive waiting periods are common place.  If you are renewing your policy and are dependent on the use of your vehicle, we would advise you enquire about your options for windscreen replacement and then make an informed decision!
We are currently in contact with both LV insurers and Autoglass and have asked for some detailed explanation.  In the meantime, we want to hear from you if you have had to wait for your windscreen to be repaired, especially if Autoglass have been involved.  We are particularly interested if you have been unable to work because of the delay in replacing your windscreen. 

If you work for one of the larger insurance companies and can throw any light on why the insurers use Autoglass, we would like to hear from you.  More importantly, if you are in a position to provide detail of complaints to or about Autoglass, then please contact us


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