Windshield Replacement Scandal: Safelite Sued By Rich Campfield
A lawsuit has just been filed in the US District Court in Ohio’s Southern District by Rich Campfield against Safelite Solutions, Safelite Group and Safelite Fulfillment LLC. Mr. Campfield, who is the founder of Ultra Bond, is accusing Safelite of running a misleading ad campaign which favors complete replacement of windshields with long cracks over long-crack repairs. According to the court documents, Mr. Campfield alleges that the advertising has wiped out almost all of Ultra Bond’s market for its products and services. Since 1989, Ultra Bond has been offering long crack repair products and services.
The heart of the case is an advert claiming that cracks longer than six inches are irreparable. According to Rich Campfield, the advert claims that the windshield must be replaced if the crack exceeds six inches in length, which is not true and it’s only meant to mislead consumers into using their products and services.
According to court documents, Campfield claims that the misstatement misleads consumers to spend much more money on windshield replacement than they would on auto glass repairs in addition to removal of factory-installed windshields, which are structurally safer than third party windshields.
Campfield’s attorneys cited the Lenham Act, which prohibits any misleading or false description of fact, or misleading or false representation of fact, which through promotion or commercial advertising misrepresents the nature characteristics or qualities of goods, services or commercial activities.
The plaintiff alleges that Safelite’s actions have not only deprived consumers of their freedom of choice to have cracked windshields repaired, they have also adversely affected Ultra Bond’s business, which is a competitor, through their failure to disclose the availability of long-crack windshield repair option to consumers.
Campfield’s attorney noted that long-crack windshield repair is important as it helps consumers to retain the original manufacturer seal. Ultra Bond currently commands 50 to 75% of the country’s market share for long-glass repair products and services.
Campfield also noted that the cost of repairing a crack ranges from $100 to $150, while stone-chip damage repairs generally cost around $65. Furthermore, the insurance company will waive their policyholder’s deductibles, when they have their windshield repaired. On the other hand, policyholders are required to meet their insurance deductibles, which can be over $500, when they have their windshield replaced.
Safelite has not yet responded to the lawsuit which was filed on August 18, 2015. Rich Campfield is asking for actual damages, reasonable attorney’s fees and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains because Campfield alleges that they were obtained through unfair inducement, misrepresentations and deceptive practices.