Clients fuming after they say landscaper took their money and ran

POINTE-CLAIRE – Donna Riley made a contract with Steven Miller Landscaping in May to get work done on her lawn, back patio, drive and walkway.

She told Global News she paid the company about $30,000.

Riley said when Steven Miller, the owner of the company, finally showed up in September, he only finished the driveway and left a big pile of dirt on her property.

“We had to get the city to remove the piles of dirt because he wasn’t coming back obviously,” she said. “And that cost us another $1,000.”

And she’s not the only one.

Liana Nutbrown lives next door to Riley and she said her mother hired Miller as well.

“We were looking around for somebody to redo my mother’s front step with pave-uni and this was one of the companies we called to get a quote,” she said. “When I got home that evening my mother said, ‘Steven is going to come here and he wants half of the deposit.'”

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Nutbrown said Miller told her and her mother that he needed the money quickly so he could get a better deal on the stone. So they said they wrote him a cheque for $2,300.

“This was in May,” she said. “May 15, he told us he’d be back in June or July, when he was finished with our neighbours, to do our property. We called him to tell him we figured out our pattern, we never heard back from him.”

One reason why Miller may not be fulfilling these contracts can be because his company recently filed bankruptcy.

Global News discovered that on Nov. 9, Miller’s company filed for bankruptcy with over $460,000 in liabilities.

“It’s very upsetting,” Nutbrown said. “You want to trust somebody and when you have a contract and they tell you they’re going to come back, you expect them to come back.”

Global News showed up to the address listed to Steven Miller Landscaping, but the only person there was the manager of the building. The manager told Global News Miller gave him his last rental payment and moved out in early November.

His business lines are all disconnected and when Global News tried calling his cellphone, it went straight to voicemail.

Montreal Police said they see these situations more often then they’d like. They warn clients to never pay too much up front.

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“Paying 50 per cent up front without any work being done appears to be a little high,” said Laurent Gingras. “You can ask to lower the amount you have to pay up front and if the contractor is not happy to agree with that, well, seek another contractor.”

Police also said customers can file police reports and take the company to small claims court.

They’ll only start an investigation further if more people come forward.

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