A PEI contractor company owes thousands of dollars to people after either not completing jobs or doing them bad, according to the contractor’s clients and court documents.
Colton Chaulk, owner of CWD Construction, is named in five different PEIs Supreme Court rulings seen by CBC News.
Documents that have been filed in recent years show that he owes about $ 80,000 to previous customers as well as a hardware store.
The CBC spoke to all of them, and only one reported being paid, saying they accepted an agreed amount of $ 6,500 as opposed to the $ 10,800 required in court.
Michelle Benoit and her husband Corina Benoit are still waiting to be paid about $ 34,000 after CWD Construction failed to insulate their mini-home in the Hunter River and add a supplement to it.
Benoits live in Alberta, but bought the house in hopes of eventually retiring there, as they have family in PEI
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When we were looking for an entrepreneur, “we just looked on the internet, Facebook and Kijiji – mostly Kijiji,” said Michelle Benoit.
Chaulk left the contract and asked for a deposit, and Benoit said everything seemed okay at first. But when they asked for pictures of the work he would do, and updates about the job, she said it was difficult to reach him.
Before that, he asked for an awful lot of money, deposits for materials and such, she said. The couple said they used all their savings to get things rolling.
Then a relative who stopped at the property told me that nothing seemed to happen.
“We had thought the work was getting done,” Benoit said. “We started asking more questions about why it had not been done.”
Benoit said holes were dug in the wrong places around their camper and that a tire was destroyed. It also turned out that someone had used a couple of cans of spray foam under the structure.
They eventually took legal action and a court ruling from November 2021 ruled that they were entitled to approximately $ 34,000 from Chaulk. At the end of March, Benoit said they still had not received anything.
“We are heartbroken. We are devastated,” she said. “We feel cheated.”
They ended up hiring another contractor to fix the problems.
“We want him held accountable for what he has done,” she said of Chaulk. “We want this to stop. We want this not to happen to anyone else.”
Garage projects never started
Josh Tawil had just moved into a new modular home with his fiancée when he was looking for a contractor to add a one-story garage with a loft. The 25-year-old said that he likes working with projects and “doing things” with car and welding projects, for fun and to get in some extra income.
Tawil received a credit line and gave Colton Chaulk two deposits totaling $ 27,500. Nothing was ever built on his property.
We’ll probably never get that garage now. We will never get that money back.– Josh Tawil
“We are just amazed. We are speechless,” Tawil told CBC News.
“We will probably never get that garage now. We will never get that money back.”
Tawil said that Chaulk told him that he had bought materials for the project, but when Tawil checked with the suppliers, he was told that no orders had been placed. He also took legal action and received a verdict against Chaulk in March.
He said that he has lost a lot of sleep over what happened and that he is abusing himself by handing over deposit money.
“I have nothing to show for it,” he said. “Not a day goes by that I’m not worried about it.”
The contractor answers
CBC News spoke with Colton Chaulk of CWD Construction to inquire about the dissatisfied customers. He said he plans to pay people back, but did not say when.
Asked about Benoit’s case, he said they had quit their jobs after he had already bought materials, adding: “We are waiting for things to clear up before I can pay them back.”
When Chaulk was questioned about Tawil’s case, Chaulk said, “It’s taken care of.”
Despite court documents that speak of the poor quality of his workmanship and that money is not returned for unfinished jobs, he said that all his clients are satisfied.
“Everyone I’ve worked for, I can go in and sit down at their dinner table and have a meal with them,” Chaulk said.
When asked about the verdicts in court, he said that he was served with papers, but that he did not defend himself because he “did not know anything about it”. The documents required Chaulk to file a defense in the claims. He never submitted a defense to any of them.
Chaulk also said he sent money to two other people mentioned in the verdicts, but CBC News confirmed with these two parties that they had not received the money.
Chaulk said that a tractor was taken back and that his bank account has been frozen by the sheriff’s department, so he can not access his money and is waiting to hear from the sheriff.
He said he has also had problems with employees and fired them due to poor performance.
“They are no longer with me,” he said. “I’ve had to go back several times to fix things they’ve done. It’s probably cost me a lot of money and cost me my name.”
He confirmed that he was on Benoit’s property, as well as at Josh Tawil’s home, and said he was adamant about the work he was doing.
When asked to answer the verdicts against him, he said he was tired of dealing with “this shit” and added that CBC should do more research.
“It’s hurtful, very hurtful and a lot of it’s unnecessary,”
He said he is certified as one Red seal carpenter, a degree-based national standard that demonstrates knowledge in the field, and he plans to continue working as an entrepreneur.
But at the moment he said, “I’m literally alone. I have no one working for me … because I can not find anyone who will do a good craft like myself and be proud of the work …
“I’m not hiring Joe Blow from the street anymore.”
The construction association says that complaints are common
Sam Sanderson from the Construction Association of PEI could not comment on this case specifically but said that the association receives complaints from contractors every other day.
“Unfortunately, we hear them too often,” Sanderson said.
The electrical and plumbing industry is governed provincially, but you do not have to be a licensed contractor to build a building.– Sam Sanderson
The trade association has no jurisdiction to take any action in the event of a complaint. Sanderson said that if people do not get somewhere with their contractor, or municipalities that deal with building permit issues, legal action is the next logical step.
He said that clear, defined contracts are also important.
Sanderson says the construction association has asked the province for licenses to have a guaranteed standard for contractors.
“The electrical and plumbing industry is governed provincially,” he said, “but you do not have to be a licensed contractor to build a building.”
Sanderson said a formal licensing system would help protect both industry and individual homeowners.