SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — Replacing a windshield seems easy enough. But, according to the Bureau of Automotive Repair there’s been an uptick on windshield companies operating without a license.

Bay Area resident Clifford Quan learned about unlicensed windshield repair companies the hard way. According to Quan after hiring a company by the name ‘Elite Vision Auto Glass’ his dash board was destroyed. “I noticed the damage in the dash and it consisted of gauges and holes,” he said.

Quan claims the technician left without giving him a receipt, but when he called to complain about the damage and asked for an invoice he got more than he bargained for. In addition to an invoice from “Elite Vision Auto Glass” he got an identical invoice from a company called “Executive Auto Glass.” The company “Elite Vision Auto Glass” refused to pay for Quan’s repairs and went out of business in January.

As for “Executive Auto Glass,” the company is still operating but it is not licensed with the Bureau of Automotive Repair. “You should never do business with an unlicensed auto repair of any kind,” said Russ Heimerich of the Bureau of Automotive Repair. He also adds windshield companies without a proper license can be prosecuted for fraud.

Our ConsumerWatch producer went undercover to see if “Executive Auto Glass” would replace our windshield without a license. Turns out the company sent a different company to perform the work. The company told CBS 5 they were subcontracted by “Executive Auto Glass.” The company also told our ConsumerWatch producer they had a proper license to replace the windshield. But, when CBS5 verified with the Bureau of Automotive repair, we found they were unlicensed.

According to Heimerich consumers have little recourse if they hire a company not licensed with the Bureau of Automotive Repair. Clifford Quan said he now wishes he would’ve done his homework. “I’m sure there are many reputable companies out there that do fine jobs,” he said. “You just need to do more research.” Consumers can check if a windshield company is licensed by going to the Bureau of Automotive Repairs’ Website and typing in the business name or Automotive Repair Dealer license.

The company “Executive Auto Glass” refused to provide a comment suitable for air. The Bureau of Automotive Repair has opened an investigation against “Executive Auto Glass.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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