The nationwide auto glass repair company Safelite has said that it is going to be expanding its Wood Dale Supercenter soon in order to provide better services to consumers and to reduce time spent by customers on waiting lists, with company officials emphasizing the ability to provide same-day service for various clients. The expansion is coming hot on the heels of the company opening a new, much smaller retail shop in Mississippi, and a controversial news report that has had members of the industry and public crying foul over the company’s price policies.
The expansions the auto glass repair company has underway might not exactly be well-timed, one might say. Only this month, a news team from 6ABC performed an investigative report on Safelite’s pricing policies and discovered that the company charged different prices for a windshield replacement based on where the customer lived—or to be more precise, based on the client’s submitted zip code. The news report then went on to show how variances of pricing could be as high as $70 of difference for nearly neighboring zip codes.
When asked about these discrepancies, the auto glass repair company alleged that it was a fair pricing model because the company used “a dynamic consumer pricing model” whereby various factors, from the availability of a technician to the identities and pricing models of nearby competitors, would affect the price offered to a consumer. However, various consumer associations and even members of the auto glass repair industry have argued that the company’s reasons hold no water. By and large, reactions have been very critical, with some even comparing the company’s pricing practices to the old and disallowed practice of redlining in the insurance trade.
Safelite is still attempting to rebut the critiques by insisting that its pricing model offers good value for a customer, and has also attempted to dismiss the news report from the 6ABC news team by saying that it is merely another case of a reporter attempting to make a big issue or topic out of something that is not all that sensational. Consumers do not seem too eager to see the big company’s side of the issue, however, if opinions on the street and various Internet fora are any indication.
The auto glass repair company’s expansion is going to push on, however, in spite of all this controversy. The Supercenter in Wood Dale is going to be gaining 13,000 square feet plus its original 28,000 sq. ft. area, and the primary aim is apparently to permit the company to stock more equipment and materials. The actual service areas and the adjacent waiting areas for clients are also to be expanded to provide a more comfortable location, it seems.