Court of Appeals Rules for Campfield

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on January 16 agreed with Rich Campfield, the owner of Ultra Bond, that Safelite’s “dollar bill rule” hurt his business by driving away customers with windshield cracks longer than 6 inches.

Campfield sued Safelite in 2015 for telling auto glass repair customers, and insurance companies that windshield cracks over 6 inches long could not be repaired. The case has had a long history of activity during the past nine years since its initial filing.

A lower court ruled that Ultra Bond failed to provide sufficient evidence that Safelite’s practice produced actual financial harm to his company and dismissed the claim.

However, a panel of judges on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, disagreed, reversing the lower court decision and allowing Ultra Bond’s claim to go before a jury.

Ultra Bond makes resins to repair windshield cracks and says its product allows auto glass repairs for cracks as long as 14 inches. The “dollar bill rule” Safelite promotes to insurance companies leads consumers to expensive windshield replacements, which are more expensive than repairs.

A lower court in Ohio had ruled that Ultra Bond failed to show a strong enough link between Safelite’s “misleading statements” and financial harm to Campfield’s business. That court dismissed Ultra Bond’s claims.

However, on January 16, a U.S. Sixth Circuit Court panel overturned the lower court’s decision, saying Safelite’s actions directly impacted Ultra Bond’s business.

In her opinion, Judge Julia Smith Gibbons says that since at least 2005, Safelite promoted a policy of only repairing windshield cracks 6 inches or shorter under a marketing campaign of “the dollar-bill rule.” That is, if the crack is shorter than the length of a dollar bill (about 6 inches), the company will repair it.

However, the Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standards (“ROLAGS”) permits crack repair up to a 14-inch length.

Despite the new voluntary repair standard, Safelite continued to market the “dollar-bill rule” as the safety standard for windshield repairs and told consumers that cracks longer than six inches require windshield replacement. Ultra Bond called the rule a marketing strategy to direct customers toward Safelite’s more costly windshield replacement business.

“Ultra Bond asserts that Safelite’s alleged false advertising caused its direct loss of sales in two ways,” the opinion says. “First, Ultra Bond argues that because of Safelite’s statements to insurers, individual consumers sought replacement services rather than repair services, thereby depriving Ultra Bond’s commercial customers of a sale.”

Ultra Bond claims demand for its products would increase “due to customers being informed that long crack repairs can be safely done.” Ultra Bond says customers did not think long cracks were repairable due to Safelite’s “dollar-bill rule.”

“Drawing the facts and inferences in the light most favorable to Ultra Bond, a reasonable jury could conclude that Safelite has made false statements to consumers and insurance companies that have led to decreased demand for long crack repairs and that this decreased demand harmed the dominant seller of long crack repair products—Ultra Bond,” the Judge says.

The opinion paves the way for the case to be tried.

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1 Response to Court of Appeals Rules for Campfield

  1. Kerry Soat says:

    Good for Rich Campfield. Just because Safelite doesn’t repair cracks over a dollar bill doesn’t mean we don’t or it can’t be done successfully. I’ve been repairing cracks successfully since 1976.

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