Dealer Sues 3M for Business Losses, Defamation 

January 31st, 2024 by Casey Flores

A South Carolina window film dealer has filed suit in U.S. District Court in Spartanburg, South Carolina, alleging the 3M Company sent a “false and defamatory” letter to a school’s director of public safety stating the security film the dealer installed was not a 3M product. The school district subsequently terminated its contract with the dealer.

“Mr. Tint of Richland County, South Carolina, is asking for damages over $75,000” for lost business and alleged damage to its reputation, according to the complaint filed December 6, 2023.

“Since 2018, and in its role as an authorized dealer of 3M products, Mr. Tint has purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars of 3M’s safety and security window film manufactured by 3M through its master distributor, Energy Products Distribution (EPD), for installation at various schools located in South Carolina,” the lawsuit says.

Mr. Tint alleges EPD’s sales representative pressured the company to subcontract the installation job to the spouse’s company, which Mr. Tint declined to do.

“As a result, EPD’s representative insisted on being informed of all new business that Mr. Tint would bid on so that other companies who were willing to retain the sales representative’s spouse could bid against Mr. Tint, which they often did successfully,” the suit alleges, saying this caused a rift in the relationship.

The suit alleges that EPD’s sales representative and representatives from 3M conspired together. It accuses them of contacting the school district to say that products were not used for the installation. The school district then sent three samples from the job to 3M.

“3M reviewed and analyzed the three samples provided by the District, two taken from Byrnes Freshman Academy and one from Reidville Elementary. 3M determined the product installed at both those locations is not a 3M product,” a letter 3M wrote to the school district states. “3M will take action with Mr. Tint directly regarding this matter. We also recommend you address this matter with Mr. Tint to resolve this matter as the seller of this product.”

As a result, Mr. Tint’s future contracts with that school district and others were canceled.

3M’s answer to the complaint is due to be filed with the court by Wednesday, February 14, 2024.

This is a developing story. WINDOW FILM magazine will provide updates as they are available.

 

 

 

 

 

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3 comments
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  1. Not surprised. The nepotism within the manufacturing, distribution and installation of window film especially the flat glass industries public projects has become blatantly corrupt. My advice is to find another profitable trade because this has been going on for years and continues to. I have been awarded multiple public school contracts where they “split up” the contract to 2 dealers and my company was one of the two. In both instances they had over $500k allocated to install film and in one instance we were the low bidder but they awarded the contract to another well known and connected dealer in the area. My company received less than 30K in work for one of the districts and the work that they did award was mostly the interior door lites consisting of 6” x 30” lites. The second contract awarded to my company and another well known company that has over 500K allocated for security film has yet to produce a single P.O. The public school contracts are rampant with fraud and corruption only to benefit those connected by family or deep ties to the industry. These are only 2 of many examples that I can provide and back up with documentation

  2. Not enough evidence to say who’s in the wrong. Best of luck to both parties. I just hope the courts are not corrupted, so we can see the truth!

  3. Reading up on this story, a recently published article wasn’t clear what prompted the school district to suspect that the film installed on their properties was not 3M product. Now I understand more, but it doesn’t make sense to me that a major manufacturer like 3M and a distributor would conspire against a dealer / installer in such a way. As far as I know, the manufacturer can cancel the dealer contract for just cause. Just cause can be something as simple as, “we just don’t want to do business with you anymore.” They are contracts renewed on an annual basis. It can be revoked at any time, but they (the manufacturer) can simply just not renew the contract. I’m sure somewhere in the middle lies the real story, but EPD needs to be looking at their sales force and make sure there is no conflict of interest. Now, THAT would be something I would have a problem with.

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