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Calgary renovation company under review faces another complaint; expert offers tips on renovations

Calgary renovations company faces another complaint
WATCH: Calgary renovations company Square One Designs -- already under review by Service Alberta -- is now facing another complaint. Tomasia DaSilva has the story and some expert advice on what to do when starting a renovation project.

Another former client of Calgary renovation company Square One Designs has come forward to allege she paid for work that was never done.

Cecilia Legaspi said she paid the company, owned by Greg Brown, $4,490 to have her kitchen and bathroom cupboards replaced.

But she said the project was continuously delayed and when she called in December 2018, her worst fears were realized.

“I called the office and cellphone, and apparently it’s no longer in service,” Legaspi said. “So I had a bad feeling the company probably went down.”

READ MORE: Former Calgary renovation company under review for alleged unfair or misleading practices

Legaspi is the second former client of Square One Designs to contact Global News and voice concerns.

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Natasha Foy said her renovation was not completed and she was out thousands of dollars.

“At least $30,000 between what I had to pay the second contractor and living costs and everything,” Foy said.

Brown said his company ceased operations in October after he said his landlord unexpectedly terminated his lease.

He also denied he owed Foy any money.

“Ms. Foy formally terminated our services (Oct. 26)… [and] released me from any obligation to complete the project,” Brown said. “We were about 90 per cent or greater complete… had staff or trades in her residence nearly every day for months.

“This was not a case where we took her money and ran off.”

Foy countered she was forced to hire another company to finish the renovation, due to numerous delays.

While she was dealing with the delays, her husband’s brain cancer came back.

Watch below: The renovation company Square One Designs Calgary is being reviewed by Service Alberta over allegations of unfair or misleading practices. Tomasia DaSilva has the story of one woman who alleges her dream renovation turned into a nightmare.

Calgary renovation company under review following consumer complaints
Calgary renovation company under review following consumer complaints

Brown blamed the delays on tradespeople, both third-party and employees. He also said the company took many steps to correct what he called the “incompetence” that he witnessed regularly.

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Global News reached out to Brown with Legaspi’s claims. He repeatedly refused to address them.

Brown previously told Global News “we have and continue to complete projects.”

However, in his latest response, he wrote, “I have not reached out to clients at the direction of Council.”

Legaspi said she did everything right; she researched the company, read reviews and didn’t put the entire amount down.

She said she is prepared to take her case to small claims court if it comes to that.

“I did my homework. I am very disappointed, very upset,” Legaspi said.

Renovation tips

Gary Sharp is the director of renovator services with the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.

He said even if you do everything right, things can still go wrong.

Sharp said it’s vital, whenever starting any renovation, to get everything in writing.

“You always have that legal recourse if you have a contract.”

Sharp said a sure-fire red flag is “cash deals.”

He also recommended homeowners do their research and interview at least three renovators, get references for each one and then contact those references.

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Sharp also suggested hiring someone who is a CHBA RenoMark renovator but added that won’t necessarily protect you.

“You can file a formal complaint with our association, but we don’t have the power that the courts have,” Sharp added.

WATCH: Kitchen or bathroom reno? One is likely much better than the other for your home value

Customers with complaints about Square One Designs can contact Service Alberta to bring up their concerns.

The provincial department has confirmed to Global News the company is being reviewed for alleged unfair and misleading practices resulting from eight complaints filed in November and December.