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Painter fined $10,000 by Consumer Protection Ontario after shabby treatment of 86-year-old customer

John Schofield, director of Pine Frames Construction Ltd. (Toronto) was convicted of failing to return a $10,000 deposit, when properly requested before work had begun, to an 86-year-old client who had recently lost his wife


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October 21, 2014 by Steve Payne

Here’s a press release from Ontario’s Consumer Protection Agency.  As much as so many of us are sick and tired of regulatory agencies that pursue non-essential issues with contractors to line their own pockets, it’s hard not to applaud the law coming down on any contractor that would treat an 86-year-old customer – who had just lost his wife, for Pete’s sake – this way.

TORONTO – On September 29, 2014, John Schofield, Director of Pine Frames Construction Ltd. (Toronto) was convicted of charges under the (Ontario) Consumer Protection Act.  Mr. Schofield received $10,000 in fines, followed by two years’ probation and was ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to an 86-year-old consumer.

Shortly after the senior lost his wife, Mr. Schofield visited him at home and discussed painting the interior of his house. He returned the same day with a typed contract pricing the job at $36,000. When the consumer said he could not pay that amount, Mr. Schofield offered to take him to the bank for a loan. The consumer refused, but signed the contract and provided a $10,000 deposit.

The next day, the consumer left Mr. Schofield a telephone message indicating he wanted to cancel. A few days later Mr. Schofield called the man and told him he could not cancel because he was intending to start work that day and had already spent $19,000 on materials. Mr. Schofield did not show and the same day the consumer sent him a registered letter cancelling the contract and asking for a refund. When the letter was returned as “moved/address unknown”, the man filed a complaint.

The contract contained a number of deficiencies – most notably it did not include the consumer’s right to cancel – and did not comply with the Consumer Protection Act. Justice of the Peace Worku of the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto convicted Schofield and Pine Frames Construction Ltd. on the following charges:

(1) Failing to provide a consumer with a proper contract containing the information required by the Consumer Protection Act

(2) Failing to refund payment within 15 days of being given notice of cancellation of the consumer agreement.

Consumers are reminded to check the ministry’s Consumer Beware List at www.ontario.ca/consumerbeware before doing business with any company.

QUICK FACTS

Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, 2002, provides for fines of up to $250,000 for corporations and $50,000 for individuals convicted of offences. It also provides for jail terms for individuals of up to two years less a day for each offence. The act also empowers the court to order offenders to pay compensation or make restitution to victims.


Steve Payne

Steve Payne

Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
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6 Comments » for Painter fined $10,000 by Consumer Protection Ontario after shabby treatment of 86-year-old customer
  1. Marten Burghgraef says:

    Wow that has got to be hard on an 86 year old guy. The contractor deserves everything he gets here and then some. That is pure greed. Like to see this all over the news along with the contractors name.

  2. Fred Simpson says:

    Wow. I’ve painted apartment buildings for less than that. Sounds like a scam all around.

  3. Questo says:

    36k to paint the inside of a house, holy crap, what size was this house, does anybody know?

    The real question is: was the owner of this house alone at the time when this contract was writhen and sign?

    In consideration of this homeowner age should be at least another two family witness present, when contract and negotiation was taking place, if not, contract should be not valid because the of his age.
    looks like were none family members there, or persons in trust, that’s why this abuse was taking place.

    These kind of situations came to me more then once in the pass, when I had business, I refuse to sign any contract with older age people, if was not in the presence of his or her family members or at least two people he or her have trust with, to avoid problems later on.

    Made the family members in some occasions sign as co- signers for cancel the contract in the time negotiated frame, or response able for fault payments, if the that arise.

    Looks like no time frame was given to the home owner, apparently looks like a scammer to me, 36k will be able to paint all the houses in my street, almost twenty.

    This scammer gets what he deserves.

  4. christiane says:

    wanted to have my 3 bedroom painted and the painter is asking for 50% down payment and wanted cash…….what should do and know.

  5. Thomas C says:

    Have my say, or can I express a personal opinion of the rights I feel are violated by the cunsumer protection act.
    The fact that I find that needs addressed just as bad or not more is the concumer and treatment we as business owners go though on a daily basis.
    We have a law in Canada about Slave Labour and how it’s our right to be paid for our services. Frim the moment I’m contacted for an estimate and I provide free advise and provide a free estimate it’s already endured an expense and time which we business owners don’t have much to offer.
    This Act says I must give a deposit back if work wasn’t started yet they have not only hired but supplied a deposit for materials/services.
    What are my rights to protect my company from dishonest customers or builders who prey on small business owners hire them only to rip them off refuse to pay knowing they can’t afford to fight them or put leins. Or a customer saying you work is garbage, and slanders your company just to harm you yet hires your helper/employee to finish a job that was at 70 % complete and refused to pay because he was told all of these imperfections and threatened suit for damages …. THIS type if thing happens to contractors everyday. . . I have been refused payment and had tools stole by a customer, held for personalopinions of being ripped of just to harm me and get a deposit returned. Once a customer signeda contract or agreed service is to start that should protect payment of my services. If a breach occurred and results in a financial loss that deposit becomes what ? Thats fir a court to deside the difference of opinion and award it. I’m not in business to work, slave nor be mistreated . I’m providing a service that I take a lot of pride on doing. Work extremely kind and exhausting hours. . It took one customer to almost end mu company and filed a breach not following the term outlined in the contract, changed the terms as he pleased without notice then fires me after 97% complete and my tools (all) my tool walked off the site the same say I’m called and fired . I’ve yet to recover because it keeps happening . They all use you can’t sue I’m protected by consumer protection act mean while they are the guilty one which u can’t prove .
    Why doest the contractors have a bad consumer list to use as a reference

    • Thomas C says:

      However after readying my post I understand that it was for this situation. That was absolutely within his right to cancel. He was in no starte of miND to be making a decision like that and shame on that contractor for trying to take advantage of this person… being lied to NY a customer is hard enough when facong or trust that you will get paid and this is a proven case to the reason why …. I’m pleased with this outcome … worn nit started and 10 day cool off period apply to this 100%
      I hope you recover from this attempt to take serious advantage of you. And know that not all LICENSED and insured contractor are like this guy