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Okanagan retiree creates checklist of tips, hints for hiring contractors

An Okanagan man has created a checklist for hiring contractors. Global News

An Okanagan retiree says a bad experience with a contractor prompted him to help prevent similar situations from happening to others.

Bob Dawe, a retired educational worker, says he hired a contractor in 2018 to renovate his bathrooms and countertops.

He said the job went south after the contractor demanded two times the amount that was previously agreed upon.

Read more: Two Okanagan families left in financial hole after contractor allegedly skips town

After doing some research, Dawe said he found there was little he could do to push back, aside from taking the contractor to court.

Dawe said he wrote a letter that was published in a newspaper, explaining his situation as a warning to the public, then was contacted by others who had similar experiences.

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“[I was contacted by] so many people, so much money [has been lost], so much stress [has been caused], I felt I had to do something,” said Dawe.
Click to play video: 'Two Okanagan families ‘left in the hole’ after contractor allegedly skips town'
Two Okanagan families ‘left in the hole’ after contractor allegedly skips town

The West Kelowna retiree says he turned his anger into action, creating documents on how to protect yourself when hiring and dealing with tradespeople.

“I came up with a list of hints, tips, suggestions, points to follow that would help screen construction contractors before you hire them,” Dawe told Global News.

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The information package has 29 tips on how to better protect yourself, with Dawe saying the most important item is to document everything.

Another helpful tip, he said, is to look up a contractor’s business credentials, licenses,  reviews and insurances.

Read more: Contractor responds to more complaints of unfinished pools

Dawe said he saw Global News’ previous stories on unfinished pools and said people need better protection from shady contractors.

“Unless a person goes through this process and releases how helpless he or she is, it’s hard to imagine how much stress you feel and the amount of control other people take over your life,” said Dawe.

Dawe says he is currently working on getting his contractor checklist online, but you can email him for a copy at bobdawe2000@yahoo.com.

Read more: Local contractor from Essa, Ont., charged with fraud

Global News talked to the Better Business Bureau in October for advice on what to look for when hiring a contractor.

“As a starting point for consumers when you’re thinking about hiring a contractor, you need to do your research. We can’t stress it enough,” said Karla Laird, a Better Business Bureau spokesperson.

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The Better Business Bureau describes research as looking up the company online and looking at their footprint.

Laird said to look at their references and see if they have any reviews of work that has been previously done.

She also says to look at the Better Business Bureau website to see if the company has had any complaints.

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