After not receiving satisfaction from store management, customer took complaint to social media
A spokesperson from Canadian Tire’s head office says the company is 'looking into' claims by a local couple who allege they were subjected to verbal abuse and threats recently at the Riverside Drive location.
Stacey Van Dyk said she and her husband attended the store in early July, in search of new tires to be paid for on a credit card they had planned to apply for in store.
While store employees were on the phone attempting to confirm the credit card with Canadian Tire Financial Services, Van Dyk said the couple opted to pay for the tires with a different credit card.
“The people at customer service, knowing our long and frustrating wait, offered to help my husband load the tires into the car while I paid at the cash for them. A manager was also present to help my husband load the tires,” said Van Dyk.
At this point, said Van Dyk, a senior manager of the store approached.
“[He] came out yelling at my husband calling him a ‘thief’ and yelling at everyone to call the police on us,” she alleged.
According to Van Dyk, the manager who called police had no specific criminal activity to report.
“The police did not do anything - understandably," said Van Dyk.
Responding to TimminsToday’s request for confirmation of the phone call, Marc Depatie, Corporate Communications for the Timmins Police Service, says the incident is, "not a police matter.'’
"That's a civil court remedy, if you're going to pursue people for slander, and I suggest that they take up their complaint with Canadian Tire. I'm sure they have some quality control aspect. Being a company that large, they'd have to," said Depatie.
Van Dyk said she has had little luck getting any acknowledgement or response from the company and insists she and her family will not shop there again.
"We have contacted the owner who refuses to respond to our complaint,” said Van Dyk. “We have contacted head office who told us they are unable to do anything to help us."
Van Dyk shared her experience through social media and response to her post has been significant with over 1,550 shares and many comments at the time of writing this article.
One such commenter, Donny Dettoni, a former Timmins resident now living in Iroquois Falls, claims to have had a similar experience in late June.
He spoke to TimminsToday about his ordeal.
Dettoni's car was being serviced nearby, and not knowing how long it would be, he decided to do some shopping.
"All my belongings were in my vehicle and I had no clue how long it was going to be there, so I grabbed my bag which had my water, my phone, my wallet, all the stuff you want to keep on your person," he said.
Dettoni said he went into the store with the intent of purchasing work clothes, as well as looking at a kayak and a tent for an upcoming camping trip.
After browsing for 10 to 15 minutes, he says he was approached by two employees, who told him that he needed to leave his bag at the front desk, citing store policy.
“When I walked into the store, I didn't see any sign that said no backpacks allowed" he said.
CanTireBagSignThis sign posted at the entrance warns of inspection, however it doesn't say that bags must be left at the front with staff. Andrew Autio for TimminsToday
TimminsToday confirmed there is a sign posted at the entrance warning of inspection, however it doesn't say that bags must be left at the front with staff.
Dettoni didn’t want to hand his bag of personal items over to the store employee and a store manager was called. Dettoni was asked to leave immediately because of the bag policy.
Dettoni's objection to leaving the bags was due to a lack of safeguards in place to ensure the safety a customer's belongings. "Do I sign something? Is there a locker?" he asked.
Dettoni alleges the manager called him a 'thief' and a 'liar' and told him he was being 'detained.' The manager then had another employee take a photo of Dettoni on their iPhone, and the Timmins Police Service was called, alleges Dettoni.
When the officer asked for his permission to search his bag, he granted it. "I'm like, yeah sure, I didn't steal anything," said Dettoni. Nothing was found.
After the incident, he claims to have been verbally told to not return to the store or else he will, “go to jail for trespassing."
After the incident, Dettoni said he went to the associate dealer of the store, who informed him that he would not be assisting him on this issue.
He then called the Canadian Tire customer care line. "They tell me straight up, there's nothing we can do to help you, since the police were called,” claims Dettoni.
Dettoni feels there is something very wrong with the way the company is conducting their business and feels they are making up their own rules.
Corporate Communications for the Timmins Police Service Marc Depatie confirmed that retailers could restrict entrance.
"The retailer is free to impose whatever conditions, to allow them to access their commercial enterprise, as they see fit,” said Depatie. “If it’s a theft prevention strategy that they have underway, they are entitled to exercise it, within limits. You can't search people arbitrarily, and you can't perform some sort of intrusive exercise involving a person's right to privacy, but you can say entry is restricted,” he said.
TimminsToday reached out to the store’s general manager, Greg Pilon, who had no comment on the allegations.
TimminsToday received the following statement from an individual wishing to only be identified as a 'Canadian Tire Spokesperson': "We are looking into this matter immediately, and will resolve it directly with the customer."
As of Wednesday afternoon, neither Van Dyk or Dettoni have been contacted by Canadian Tire.