Posted by: James Ensor
Location: London
Company: The Glass Company

Insurers such as Direct Line insist that you use a huge company owned by the French St Gobain for any broken glass. This company operates through a call centre and you rather than the insurer have to make all the arrangements for a repair.

Even on the simplest and smallest of claims, such as a single glass pane in a conservatory roof, St Gobain`s Glass Company insists that scaffoldiong must be erected. As you may have already guessed you have to make all the arrangements for the erection of the scaffolding again through a company which you cannot choose.

The scaffolders performed their task correctly and politely. But the glass fitters would not work in the dark or in the rain. This meant that a repair to a leaky roof in the winter takes months.

The main problem seems to be that nobody at the call centre can access a computer file. So that every time that you call – more than 30 times in my case – you have to explain the situation from the outset. The response is almost invariably that someone will call back. Usually they fail to do this. So you have to start the whole process again.

A simple repair such as this, therefore can take five or six visits – two by scaffolders, one by an inspector who takes photos and one or two by the fitters to measure and then to fit the pane. It takes a week for the pane to arrive, even though this is Europe`s largest glass company.

People are not rude until thay start to demand payment for the insurance excess of £100 which Direct Line insists that you pay to the fitters. They want this paid in advance, but this would be very foolish as it is the only incentive for them to come and do the work.

Nobody apologises for taking three months to replace a single glass pane. But if you dare to take more than a month to pay the £100 you begin to receive threatening letters amd ruide phone calls.

It is astonishing that such a large and well-known company should have such appalling management. If your insurer suggests using the Glass Company, you have the right to refuse and choose your own fitter, who will probably be able to replace the glass the next day, with a single phone call.

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