One Shop Owner’s Action: Smart Business—or Just Plain Evil?

A woman came into Auto Glass Experts on Saturday, June 19, crying. She said someone had thrown an object through the back window of her Nissan Sentra, smashing the backlite, and glass had gotten on her and her dog.

After the backlite of a Montreal woman’s car was smashed in by an unknown object, she came to Auto Glass Experts in Montreal for replacement.

“A tornado hit not too far from here,” says John Zotts, CEO of Auto Glass Experts in Montreal, Quebec, remembering the day because the shop was without electricity for several hours as a result.

Zotts says that his company “on good faith” provided services for five customers during that blackout and took customer information, including driver’s licenses and credit card numbers to process transactions when power resumed.

All the credit cards that were processed the following Monday went through—except for the one from the crying woman.

Card fraud has happened before with customers, Zotts says.

“In all my years, I can’t believe this happened to me,” he says of the customer, who refused to pay for his company’s services after the blackout.

Zotts says that after the customer’s backlite was replaced and she realized the company could not process her card payment that day, she insisted she would drive to the bank, get cash, and return with the payment.

Auto Glass Experts completed the job (above) easily but getting paid was another matter.

Before anyone could stop her, Zotts says she drove out of the shop and did not return. He says he was going to lend her a car to drive to the bank to get cash if that was how she wanted to pay for services, but she was gone before he could make the offer.

When he could not reach her after 4 p.m. on that Saturday afternoon, Zotts decided to wait until Monday to run credit card numbers for all five customers.

Zotts says he called her two or three times, and she did not respond. He even texted her in French and still received no response.

So, he called his credit card processing service, but the company told him to call the customer’s credit card company. The credit card company informed Zotts that the customer had called them and had the card number blocked as if the card had been stolen.

Zotts says he asked the credit card company: “Can we force the payment through?” He was told he must ask his credit card processing service.

At this point, Zotts also contacted police, but they told him they could not do anything. His credit card processing service informed him they could not force the payment through either.

On Wednesday, Zotts says he again attempted to call the customer’s credit card company and his credit card processing service. He was on the phone for more than five hours as the two companies disagreed about how to handle the situation.

The customer, who lives in Montreal, had reported her credit card stolen. If she would have just come in, and said that she could not pay for the backlite, Zotts says he would have been agreeable to finding another way for her to pay.

Auto Glass Experts has been in business since 2006. All its customer contracts, one of which the customer had signed, state that the company owns the glass until payment is made by the customer.

The customer owed the company $458.75, according to Zotts.

With still no resolution to the situation on June 23, and with the police unable to assist, Zotts took matters into his own hands.

“So, I was fed up with this. I jumped in my truck. I drove to her work — [the car] wasn’t there,” Zotts says.

At the work address that she had given Auto Glass Experts, Zotts was told that nobody by that name worked there. Then he drove to the home address she had given Auto Glass Experts. He found her car parked three blocks from her home.

Zotts thinks she intentionally parked several blocks from her home because there were plenty of parking spots closer to her home. Zotts then proceeded to remove the new backlite from the customer’s vehicle.

“I do a lot of pro bono work. If she just would have said to me ‘I don’t have the money,’” Zotts says he would have helped her.

Zotts says he believes the customer’s intentions with the situation “were to literally ‘screw me over.’”

There is a postscript to the story however. After Zotts removed the backlite, he says the customer called him. She told him he was “evil.”

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11 Responses to One Shop Owner’s Action: Smart Business—or Just Plain Evil?

  1. Dan Osborne says:

    Not Evil, just wise, and with all the entitled people out there good job! She had no intention of paying, leaving like she did, she is just a theif.

  2. very smart move. Evil…hahahahahahaa, no, your not letting thieves get away with crap. she’s just a plain thief and she got busted, she wasn’t expecting any repercussions. Good Job!

  3. David DeWalt says:

    There are two kinds of people in this world for sure, and it is good and evil. I believe the evil one had her backglass confiscated.

  4. K. Clark says:

    Possibly the reason the glass was broken in the first place, was because she refused to pay another company as well, for a prior replacement. Rather than take the time to remove it, just a little more satisfaction by just breaking it and leaving her with the mess. Amazing how some people think. Good for you on your reaction.

  5. Troy says:

    I think I would have broke it and left it the way she brought it in.

  6. Not how I would have done it. But thanks for a actual auto glass story.

  7. Lisa Ricks says:

    Would like a copy of the customer contract please.
    That was very good thinking!
    Lisa Ricks

  8. Was that legal to remove it? If I understand US law correctly, once you install, it belongs to the customer. You have to report to collections or small claims court to recoup money. You can also file charges for theft of services.

  9. Lyle Hill says:

    A beautiful story with a happy ending. Very refreshing.

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