Eco Life owner stands by his record
“No one complains about my workmanship. No one complains about my prices,” says controversial Sudbury contractor
By John Bleasby
Eco Life Home Improvement Inc. owner David Murray of Sudbury, ON, has challenged claims made by customers suggesting he has treated them badly by taking deposits or payments in full and not doing the work.
Murray spoke to Canadian Contractor this week. He admitted that many window and door installations he had booked under the now-cancelled GreenOn energy rebate program fell behind schedule. Ontario’s GreenOn program was launched by the former Liberal government in December 2017. Many contractors scrambled to be approved under the program, which offered generous rebates to homeowners for energy reduction projects that included new windows and doors. GreenOn was cancelled in June 2018, only two weeks after Doug Ford’s Conservative government was elected. The deadline for GreenOn project completion was extended to October 31, and to November 30 for contractors to file rebate paperwork.
Bureaucracy, heavy demand, and rain are to blame, Murray says
Murray told Canadian Contractor there were delays to his GreenOn start-up beyond his control. “They lost my application five or six times.” He also admitted that he may have back-dated contracts, but for good reason. “It was to try to make sure that customers got the grant money. I didn’t want them to lose out on the opportunity. I might have been wrong, but my intentions were sincere and good.” He also maintains that the clients were aware of the reasoning behind the back-dating.
There were also problems with his workers, Murray said. “I had issues with installers. Some of my guys were getting advances on their work and then weren’t showing up. And the clock was ticking. The deadline was coming. Those are the things that were putting me behind the 8-ball. I only had a certain number of guys certified to do windows. By August  I had lost four or five top guys.”
In an interview published on April 15 in sudbury.com, Murray also said that heavy rain the previous summer had created a backlog of work going into the spring of 2018. Those delayed jobs, he said, included work on garages, roofs and additions. Murray also said that his orders for windows and doors under GreenOn took much longer to process due to heavy demand across the province. “It’s all GreenOn that caused this,” he told sudbury.com. “I’ve done great work. The complaints aren’t about the work or my prices. It’s about the length of time for the jobs, and taking deposits.”
The GreenOn offices have long been closed, therefore Canadian Contractor has not been able to confirm the lost application claim made by Murray. However, a review of weather data from the summer of 2017 does not appear to support Murray’s claims of exceptional precipitation levels.
A history of court judgments back to 2005
Past customers of Eco Life say that many complaints and court actions against the company in fact predate the GreenOn program. Murray declined to speak on the record about the past history of his previous company, Prestige Home Centre, although he did not deny there had been judgments against that company, adding that he had closed Prestige in 2010. “I did not go bankrupt.” However, he denied there have been any judgments against Eco Life Home Improvements.
Nevertheless, Canadian Contractor has obtained a list of over ten Court judgments against Eco Life and Murray between 2013 and 2017. Under his previous company, Prestige Home Centre, there are more than a dozen more, going back to 2005.
Although the allegations made lately by customers have not yet been proven in court, Eco Life and Murray together face as many as 24 upcoming Small Claims actions. As previously reported, the Criminal Fraud Investigation Unit of the Greater Sudbury Police Services is conducting an ongoing investigation into Murray’s activities, with several cases already before the Crown for consideration. Murray says he welcomes this investigation: “That’s their job. Let them do their job.”
Local MPP France Gélinas has had two direct meetings with Government and Consumer Affairs Minister Bill Walker concerning at least nine individual complaints brought to the Ontario Consumer Protection Office. Eco Life’s business license has been revoked by the City of Sudbury, and business associations including the Better Business Bureau have revoked Eco Life’s accreditation or membership.
Murray will have an opportunity to defend himself and his company in Court this spring. In the meantime, the lights are still ‘on’ at his 850 Notre Dame Avenue office in Sudbury, and he continues to post regularly on the company Facebook page. “My intention is to finish the jobs,” he said. “But I have to have the opportunity. No one complains about my workmanship. No one complains about my prices. I’m a pro, I’m honest, and I’m knowledgeable. Everything I try to do is transparent.”
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