Prospective home owner peeved after builder fails to return refundable deposit
Published Monday, March 6, 2017 5:22PM MST
Last Updated Monday, March 6, 2017 7:50PM MST
A Calgary man is having a tough time getting his deposit back from WestView Builders after his financing fell through on a home over a year ago.
WestView Builders has constructed homes in a number of southwest Calgary communities so Jeremy Oslund felt comfortable putting down a $5000 refundable deposit on a home with the company.
When his financing failed, he was shocked when the builder didn’t return his money.
“I’ve got the contract signed, everything, you know, and it clearly states that we would get reimbursed if we were not approved for the home and they seem to not care,” he said. “I was very shocked. I never thought this would happen, ever, so it surprised me for sure,”
Oslund was determined to get his refund and hounded the company for months trying to get his cash back.
“It took months for them to even respond. Went through the Better Business Bureau, we had to call the Alberta home builders’ association. I called the police and that was just to even get them to respond and originally they said that they were going to give me my deposit back in July of last year and when that came and gone then we put in another complaint with the Better Business Bureau and after a month of waiting for that response, they said they’d get back to us later,” said Oslund.
Oslund eventually filed a claim and took WestView to court to try to recoup the money.
During mediation, WestView agreed to give Oslund his money back but the company still hasn’t paid him.
“At the end of November, we went to mediation to get it settled and the agreement was that we, we get paid our deposit back at the end of January and I went to pick up my cheque and they didn’t pay me back,” he said. “I went in there on the Friday, when I was supposed to pick up the cheque and then I went in on the following Tuesday, that’s when they said they would have the cheque ready so and both times they didn’t.”
The Better Business Bureau says there have been other complaints about the company and that it has an ‘F’ rating with the agency.
“So our rating for this company is an F and the reason why they have that rating really has to do with their customer reviews and their complaints. And the customer reviews have all been negative so far and of course the complaints are the same kind of story. There’s six complaints on file and two of those complaints have not even been responded to or acknowledged by the business so that alone significantly lowers the rating,” said Leah Brownridge, media and corporate communications specialist for the BBB. “So we do encourage all consumers to check out our business review of all of our accredited and non-accredited businesses to get the full information, get the rating, but when it comes to this particular business, we really encourage consumers to read through those complaints and those customer reviews and they can see for themselves the kinds of issues that are being reported by consumers that have dealt with this business.”
CTV Calgary’s Consumer Specialist Lea Williams-Doherty tried to contact WestView several times by email and phone for comment and received no response.
WestView is a member of the Calgary Region Homebuilders’ Association and all members must sign a code of ethics promising to deal with customers fairly and to avoid conduct that is detrimental to the industry. Lea contacted the association to ask if there are any repercussions for builders that fail to uphold that code and a spokesperson told her that that is not their focus.
Oslund says he is surprised that a big builder is refusing to live up to its obligation.
“I thought, you know, court ordered, they have to pay me my money but apparently they don’t or something, I don’t know, they just, I don’t know, it’s, it’s very shocking that they don’t just have to give me my money. They went to mediation with me and they agreed upon it and now they just decide they don’t have to? I don’t get it.”
He says he plans to return to court to find out what the next step is but wants buyers to beware before they put down a deposit on a big purchase.
(With files from Lea Williams-Doherty)