Canadian Contractor

Harrowing dispute ruining homeowners lives


October 23, 2020
By Patrick Flannery

Della Mackie reports on her ongoing battle with a contractor in B.C., now entering its fourth year. Obviously we are only getting one side of the story here but Della’s report serves to remind us what can be at stake when projects go wrong and fall into dispute.

Here is another update, the horrific time we have gone through just gets worse. from early May till June 11th we gave our lawyer another $15,000 to get ready for our trial for June 20th 2020 finally we thought we would finally get our day in court we put out over $60,000 in legal fees etc, and because its on an island we have been forced to pay for 2 places cause we work on the main island, we just got occupancy in May doing this build mostly ourselves finally, was not easy for us as we were inexperienced and just thrown into this, but after a year of waiting our trial date was very close, even with covid everything seemed to be headed for trial and an end to this horrific nightmare finally so we thought. a trial management meeting was held on June 10th 2020 and as it turned out both lawyers had miss -filed for the trial, our lawyer explained about the rules changing and we would discuss setting a new date, as stated in his email the next day , well a month goes by and he would not return calls or reply to emails, just his secretary stating he was working on another case, then a quick email after a month stating he was busy with another case then another month and a half of us trying to get a hold of him to see what was going on, and if another date was filed,, and all we got was a letter stating he was changing his practice as he had tried to change his practice for the last year and he was stepping down as our lawyer (this was 2 1/2 months after the trial was cancelled) so time wasted, his letter stated it was nothing we did he was downsizing going to do just wills estates, and icbc claims we could appeal but he was no longer wanted to work on our case and” thank you for your business, ” and that was that After the trial was cancelled he never met with us face to face he avoided us, it was so out of character I thought someone had got to him or maybe he was sick or we just did not know , I feel this case is extremely complicated and boxes and boxes of evidence , but still he took in may and June a total of $15,000 from us only to return about $2023.00 ??? we signed the contract with the builder in July 2017 it is now October 2020 and we are out so much money and let down from a lawyer who was eager and doing a good job and ready to help us so this was very out of character. now all that money gone, was like a knife went through our gut, now we have to pay another lawyer to get him educated on what is happening and he has to read the discoveries etc,, , we hired a bigger firm with more then one lawyer in the office. (lesson learned) our next court date will hopefully be in August 2021 so far but the stress is horrible , as we were suppose to retire in mid 2018 after our house was built, now our retirement savings is pretty much gone our retirement is just a memory we thought would happen, I blame these horrible builders who took it all away the bullied us into a corner and it was a hostage taking the minute we signed the first contract and gave them almost $50,000 up front, We are now forced to work and forced to pay for 2 places and because of home warrenty we cannot even sell the new house and get one place to live until another year and a half, We need the tiny 70’smobile we are still staying in when we work our monthly expenses are so high and we get to enjoy the 70’s mobile and only coming to enjoy the house on days off which is not many, This has been a horrible hostage taking by these builders, we finally built this house ourselves, not professional but hired people for things we could not do ourselves, finishing we did but not perfect but we had to get it done and had to save money. whats really devastating is we cant retire, I have missed seeing my kids and grandkids on the mainland because we have been so busy and tied up with work, building, court case and evidence and receipts, its a horrible nightmare we cant wake up from, and despite all our letter for help no one will look into this or investigate this , there is no help for the unsuspecting buyer, other then expensive lawyers, why are the laws like this, why are builders allowed to put liens on a home without proof, we were paid to date all valid invoices and even an invalid change order we paid, on a fixed price contract, when we had the lien reduced they told the judge the lien was the invoice, how is that even allowed? I believe our lawyer just gave up, our case is very complicated now we have to pay thousands for the new lawyer to get it ready for trial as we are counter suing, are there any other victims out there that have had bullies put an over inflated lien on there house with no proof and get away with it? the lien was not invoiced to us and was unknown to us and for an amount that was extremely inflated, There inflated lien has cost us hundreds of thousands now, I hope at the end of this there is justice and no other consumer ever has to ever go through what we have gone through. This is a contractor who has totally taken advantage of the lien system.

Della Mackie


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