State sues glass company over rebates to customers

The state of Minnesota sued Glass Service Co., saying the company violated a new state law by giving $100 rebates to customers.

The company calls the law unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was filed in Hennepin County District Court on Tuesday. It seeks an injunction to keep the company from breaking the law, which took effect in March.

Company President George Corporaal said in October that he would challenge the law, saying his company and others might go out of business if they couldn't offer incentives. The ban on promotional gifts applies only to glass work paid for in whole or in part by insurance.

"We really do feel that giving $100 to our customers is one of our constitutional rights," Corporaal said. "It's a free enterprise system. You're supposed to have freedom of speech."

Corporaal isn't alone.

John Boulay, president of the Minnesota Independent Auto Glass Association, said the law has had a negative impact on the auto glass industry.

"Without the ability to market to our consumers, insurance companies and large glass shops are easily able to steer business away from smaller independent shops," he said.

But Deputy Attorney General Lori Swanson said the company should have gone to court to get a judgment declaring the law unconstitutional.

"In this case, what we have is a company deciding it doesn't like the statute and therefore will violate the statute instead of pursuing proper legal recourse," she said.

600450 State sues glass company over rebates to customers
Date: 12 November 2002

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