DNT Paintless Dent Repair technicians claim $250K in unpaid wages, which company denies
Former workers say it's been frustrating because there's little they can do to collect
A group of technicians claim they are owed about $250,000 in wages from DNT Paintless Dent Repair for work they did between 2012 and 2015 — allegations which the company's owner denies.
CBC News spoke to seven former dent-repair technicians, most of whom were hired as subcontractors, and allege they are owed anywhere from $3,700 to $60,000.
"It's pretty aggravating, I mean its a betrayal of a friendship [and] it's dishonest to say the least," said Paul Juric who says he's owed about $50,000. "It didn't kill me but it's not exactly an insignificant amount of money to say, 'Hey that's cool I'm just going to walk away from that.' "
Juric says he first met the owner of the company in 2007 and they quickly became friends — working together during several hail storms in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Including one time when they worked 120-hour weeks to repair more than 500 hail-damaged vehicles in 38 days.
"We worked really well together," said Juric.
"It was always a constant challenge to see how much and how fast and how much and what we could actually accomplish ... that part of it was pretty exciting."
Eventually left company
At DNT, Juric says he made 70 per cent of the total cost of repairs on each vehicle he fixed. So if an insurance company paid DNT $1,000 for repairs — Juric took home $700.
He says that commission is pretty standard in this industry.
Juric says it usually takes about 30 days to get paid after the work is done, because of the processing time. But it's not uncommon to wait longer.
That's why when Juric says he first complained about the delays in getting paid he let it slide because he was told by DNT that he would get paid when the company got paid.
Eventually he left, but continues to email and text the owner to collect — although after a year he's given up hope.
Limited success in court
Juric has since met with other former technicians with similar stories.
One of them tried to sue, but after the legal costs started piling up he gave up his fight and he wrote off $25,000 in wages he says he is owed.
Another worker, Simon Moulton, was able to complain to the Alberta labour board because he was hired as an employee. He won his judgment, worth more than $18,000 — but he still hasn't seen the money.
"Having zero dollars collected in my favour, well again, I appreciate that the government looks into this and sides with me. But clearly, I would much rather if they could enforce collections."
The owner of DNT Paintless Dent says he'll pay Moulton because he's been forced to, but insists he doesn't owe anybody else. He refused CBC News an interview and wouldn't comment any further.
Juric says the group of technicians have considered coming together to take the company to court, but Glenn Jarvis says he's already gone through that with five coworkers who worked for a different dent-repair company in Ottawa.
"We pursued the legal avenue and, yeah, he just claimed bankruptcy, so it was all for naught," said Jarvis, who claims DNT owes him $31,000.
Some in the group are still hoping to work this out with DNT. They say they're even willing to mend fences.
But others say they've moved on and just want to share what they've learned in all of this.
"You learn to read people a lot quicker," said Moulton.
But all say they don't want their experience to taint the whole industry.