RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – If they haven't already approached you -- they could soon. Police say Windshield Bullies are on the prowl. They could be lurking in your neighborhood, a carwash or at the local gas station.
Sgt. J.C. Miers, with the Virginia State Police is all to familiar with the pitch of Windshield Bullies. If you are approached by one -- here's what Miers says you might hear:
"I can replace your glass...it is not going to cost you anything...it's all going to come out of your insurance policy...all I need is your name your address, your policy number and we will take care of it and I will replace your windshield." he said.
These scam artists are called windshield bullies because they use aggressive tactics to get you to believe you need repair work done to your windshield. Miers says, "It's kind of like buying a mink coat off the rack in a pickup truck in an alley in New York City, it's a sham job from the get go."
Not only are these Windshield Bullies aggressive with their pitch -- State Police say some of them will go as far targeting neighborhoods and breaking windows to get your money.
"They will come out and tap the windshield, crack it and say, 'Oh, look, your windshield is cracked. We are going through the neighborhood and there was a wind storm or a gravel truck that came through here and there are bunch of other people with the same problem,'" Miers said.
Even if your windshield is damaged, police say don't fall for the deception of a sales person showing up to your door or stopping you in a parking lot.
Miers says, "This is a case of buyer beware, if it sounds to good to be true it is, if you have any questions go to a reputable glass dealership."
Not only are consumers at risk of losing money, but also police say crooks could install the window improperly or use defective glass.
"Your windshield could shatter. A larger object could come in and strike the passenger of the vehicle. The windshield could fail in and of it self just because of wind pressure," Miers said. You should also understand that not all insurance policies will cover damaged windshields without a deductible. Consult your insurance agent and your auto policy before committing to a repair.
Research the reports and grades of windshield repair companies in your area with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) and with your state's consumer affairs division.