Company in Windsor facing allegations from homeowners
A company operating in Windsor is facing allegations from its customers it took thousands of dollars in deposits without starting the contracted work —and some are worried they’ll never see the work done or get their money back.
Customers of Certified Windows and Doors have been calling the company for months after signing an agreement and paying a deposit for window or door installations many were told would be completed within months of paying upfront.
“You know it’d be nice to have my money back and it’d be nice if it didn’t happen to all these other people too,” says Steve Higgins, a Windsor homeowner and customer of Certified Windows and Doors.
Higgins hired the company on April 23, 2018 to install seven new windows and paid a $3,600 deposit for the $7,200 job. He was told the installation would take place by the end of August; however, Higgins says he’s been getting the runaround ever since signing the deal.
“Not getting any straight answers through these guys,” says Higgins.
Gillian Rocca, another customer in Windsor, is still without a new door after signing an agreement with the company on March 14, 2018 to have a new door installed for $7,500.
She took the six month no interest financing option offered by Certified through a third-party, FinanceIt.
Despite not receiving her new door, she got a call from the financing company at the end of August to remind Rocca her loan would be coming due on September 17.
“I said, ‘I never had the install. It’s been six months and still no door,’” says Rocca. “He was shocked.”
FinanceIt sent Rocca a job completion form dated March 17 with her signature.
“I do not recall signing that paper,” says Rocca. “I would not have signed a paper saying that the job was completed. Why would I when the job was not completed?”
In emails to Rocca obtained by CTV News, Certified Windows and Doors principle Craig O’Brien admits to “a lower level admin person” mistakenly updating the file as “already installed” and promised to cancel the order while paying off the loan by October 22.
As of October 31, Rocca’s balance with FinanceIt stands at nearly $7,600.
In an email to CTV News, O’Brien declined to do an interview based on legal advice, but sent a statement which blames the lack of installations on the cancellation of Ontario’s grant program — GreenOn — which was scrapped by the new Progressive Conservative government following the June 7 election.
The government extended the initial August 31 install deadline to October 31.
Customers found the Certified office in Windsor closed on October 29.
“Certified Windows office will remain closed until we’re given back sufficient time to service our customers. We’re hoping to be back soon and organizing properly,” says O’Brien in a statement to CTV News.
Customers don’t appear to have been given any notice.
“Last week when I was there (October 26) there was no mention of him closing his doors,” says Higgins.
Other customers of Certified Windows have told CTV News they paid amounts up to $10,000 in deposits without installation.
An email dated October 23 from O’Brien to Higgins says the company is committed to pay back the $3,600 deposit by November 15 if the GreenON program doesn’t come up with a “viable solution” in the meantime.
Higgins hopes his story can be a lesson to someone else.
“I’m not a gullible person to get taken advantage of, but here we are and it’s happened to me now too,” says Higgins.
The Windsor Police Service confirms it has received complaints regarding Certified Windows, but won’t confirm it has an active investigation concerning the company.
The Better Business Bureau has received 31 complaints regarding Certified Windows with 22 of those originating in Windsor. The company has an ‘F’ rating from BBB and lost its accreditation from the organization on April 8, 2014.
“I really feel bad for the people who — like my door was $7,500 — that is so small compared to what some of these people are going through: single mom’s, new young married couples with a baby on the way,” says Rocca. I’ve heard all of these stories and it’s very sad.”