I am sending this letter to launch a formal complaint about a crooked contactor named Joel A. who runs a company called Easy Painters and Renovators, but mostly works under his given name.
This Contractor took advantage of my family during a basement renovation.
In October, 2007 my partner and I purchased our first home together - an old Victorian in the Toronto area of Parkdale. When we moved into the house in December, 2007. Terra was 6 months pregnant with our first child.
The house, had good bones - all it needed was some TLC. We undertook some renovations immediately - painting the house from top to bottom and doing some minor drywall in the bedroom and main bathroom.
Eventually we planned to turn the semi-finished basement into a functional living space where we would put our home office(s), a small TV area, laundry and storage. As I am a freelance editor, I require an office for my work and until the basement was finished, my office was sharing space with our den/family room. Needless to say my editing equipment – key to my livelihood – was not in an ideal or comfortable location.
Once we determined that digging out the basement would take too much time and cost too much money we decided just to finish the space. We were eager to finish the project before the middle of February when the baby was due.
Most of established contractors we spoke to thought the job was too small and recommended their laborers or sub-contractors. We received many quotes, eventually settling on small contractor Joel A. and his crew of 2 men.
He runs his company from 75 Dowling Avenue, Unit 210 Toronto, ON
We joyfully became parents to our baby daughter Rose on February 14, 2008.
In March (when our daughter was 4 weeks old), a sewage pipe in the basement collapsed and we had to dig a portion of the basement and crawlspace to replace the tile pipe with pvc pipe and replace part of the floor. Even worse was having to discard a dumpster worth of raw sewage. Most of this cost was covered by insurance, but it changed our plans for the basement.
Second, and more personally, in May 2008, our daughter was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer called retinoblastoma, affecting both of her eyes. Treatment includes chemotherapy and laser and will likely be ongoing for a number of years. The first rounds of chemotherapy were to start in the fall.
We decided to finally complete the basement before starting chemo so that we had one less thing to focus on.
We met with Contractor Joel A.l a few years ago when he worked as the labourer on a bathroom renovation at my wife’s previous house with another reputable renovation company. He was hardworking, conscientious and his work was excellent. We felt confident that he would be able to finish the work we needed quickly and professionally.
We proceeded with a new completion plan of the basement. We signed a gentlemen’s contract with Mr.A and decided to pay him in five installments to avoid any problems.
He started the job and completed some drywall, taping, sanding, electrical and tiling but all work was not complete but he assured us it would look great at end.
He requested and received payment for additional work we negotiated (a exterior door and window) and a large cash payment as he prepared to order supplies including 5 doors with jams, drop ceiling, paint, grout, and trim and baseboards etc.
Shortly after giving him the cash for payroll and supplies he stopped coming to our home, we called and emailed him and had a face to face meeting at his home begging for his return to the job. He still claimed he was on other jobs, and was waiting on material to arrive and was waiting for another check to clear from another job. But promised to finish the job the following week.
We contacted his old boss and he told us that he owed him over 7k in supplies and lost tools and thought that this fellow had a gambling problem.
After a week of unresponsive telephone calls.
We prepared a demand letter from a lawyer asking him to finish or return the monies for the incomplete work and missing supplies.
With a daughter finishing her second of round chemo for her eye cancer - retinoblasoma.
We still have a unfinished basement and all our storage items are in our garage which we need for our car this winter.
Not to mention the construction waste in our backyard.
This unfinished basement has cost over 10K the last 12 months and with my wife on maternity leave, we are hoping this review may be something we can do too help stop this from happening to other home owners.
We recomend anyone who has had a bad experience with Easy Painters and Renovators to report them to the ministry of consumer affairs so they can investigate him.