A Fort Smith man has a chip on his shoulder – and two on his windshield – after police responded when he refused to pay a $75 fee for a repair job at a Deco Windshield Repair kiosk in Yellowknife on July 25.
Ken Hudson, president of the Fort Smith Metis Council, paid up as soon as police arrived but insists he was swindled.
“As far as I’m concerned, I was ripped off,” said Hudson.
Hudson intended to shop at Canadian Tire with his wife when he stopped by the orange Deco Windshield Repair tent in the store’s parking lot on Old Airport Road to get a couple chips in his windshield repaired, he said.
“It’s hunting season coming up so I thought I’d get the chips fixed before the bugs make it worse,” said Hudson.
He was quoted $75 to fix two small chips and was told the repair work would take a few minutes.
Hudson went into the Canadian Tire. When he returned, he was dismayed to find the technician had failed to fix the windshield, he said.
“I came back and he was still working on it,” said Hudson. “The one chip looked exactly the same from when he started. The second one didn’t look much better.”
According to the Deco employee, who asked not to be named, Hudson wanted to leave without paying.
It was at this point that Hudson became verbally abusive, even after he offered to try and repair the windshield a second time, he said.
“I did a repair on his windshield, it didn’t clear up very well and I asked him if he wanted me to do it again and he said no,” said the Deco employee. “This guy was a bit bigger, started swearing at me and refused to pay so I got the police here to deal with it.”
The Deco employee contacted Yellowknife RCMP, which confirms that officers were sent to a disturbance in the Canadian Tire parking lot at around 3 p.m.
“The investigation is ongoing and no one has been arrested or charged,” said Julie Plourde, RCMP communications officer.
Hudson said officers arrived and threatened to charge him if he didn’t pay, which he subsequently did.
“The cop told me that I could be charged as a criminal if I didn’t pay the $75,” said Hudson.
“If I was at home, I would not pay,” he added.
He said he went and spoke with the Canadian Tire manager, who told him Deco has been there renting space for months without complaint.
“I was going to sit there all day and warn people about this racket, but the cop told me I can’t do that either,” said Hudson. “They’re protecting this guy but where’s the consumer’s protection?”
A spokesperson for Deco, which is based out of Calgary, said there are no money back guarantees with repairs, but there is a warranty.
“Any time a customer is not satisfied with the service, they can go back to the tent and have it fixed further,” said the spokesperson. “We explain to the customer we repair the integrity of the windshield and aesthetics are a secondary objective.”
According to the company’s website, Deco technicians can fix windshields by using a high pressure device to inject a special resin into a chip or crack.
This resin will bond with the glass and return the strength and clarity of the windshield to a level that will meet most road safety requirements. The process takes about 15 minutes, says the site.
The Deco process will effectively prevent chips and cracks from worsening, it states. However, the damage to the windshield will still be visible as it is impossible to mold the class back together.
Hudson is still not happy about the service.
“I’m not trying to get my money back,” Hudson said. “I don’t care about the money, I just don’t want to get ripped off.”
Yellowknifer reached out to Canadian Tire for comment but did not hear back by press time.