Weston Iron Design took the money and ran
Even a small case arouses Ontario’s Consumer Services
By John Bleasby
Weston Iron Design seems to have vaporised into thin air, taking a client’s deposit along for the ride. The phone is dis-connected, the web page has been pulled, the Twitter account never used. However, that didn’t prevent Ontario Consumer Services from pursuing a case against the company, and having them fined, convicted, and sentenced for “engaging in an unfair practice by making false, misleading or deceptive representations to consumers.”
The first hint of trouble with Weston Iron Design appeared on Home Stars 4 years ago when ‘Paula from Bloor Wet Village’ gave the company a ‘0’ stars rating, having paid a $2200 deposit for a set of stairs and stair railing with no work to show for it. Paula explained that company representative ‘Jonathan’ “managed to string me along for months” and then claimed to have gone into bankruptcy; something Paula says was false.
Consumer Services took up the case and managed to track down both the company and a representative, perhaps the same ‘Jonathan’ that Paula described as a “smooth talker and charmer”. The case went to court last month and the company was fined $5,000 and required to pay a total of $2,200 in restitution. In addition, “the company was placed on probation for one year and a representative of the company is required to report to a probation officer over that period.“
What has become of the firm today is unknown. However, as Paula suggests, if they re-emerge or open up under a new name, consumers and contractors would be well-advised to “stay far away from this company and this fraudster.”
This case illustrates Consumer Services willingness to pursue even smaller instances that cause hardship and loss for individuals. Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act provides for fines of up to $250,000 for corporations per charge and $50,000 per charge for individuals convicted of offences. It also provides for jail terms of up to two years less a day for each offence, and empowers the court to order offenders to pay compensation or make restitution to victims.