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'I feel betrayed': Ottawa-area customers out thousands of dollars warn of bad faith contractor

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A group of people from eastern Ontario and western Quebec is issuing a warning about Dennis Walker and his company Vue Windows.

After months, or in some cases years, of waiting for the contractor to follow through on work that was promised, they're hoping their stories will serve as a warning to anyone looking to hire a contractor.

For Christian Lafleur, it all started in 2022 when he sent Walker a deposit to purchase custom windows for his home.

He was told the installation would be completed within two to three months.

"I gave him the deposit of $4,000 and ever since then, for the next two years it's been excuses, lies, and he's never delivered anything," said Lafleur

"There's no proof whatsoever that the windows have actually been ordered. I'm out $4,000 and there's nothing to show for it."

Despite numerous requests for comment, Dennis Walker has not agreed to an interview.

However, in text messages, he tells CTV News he believes Lafleur has no intention of paying for the remaining 50 per cent of the bill associated with replacing his windows.

Walker is asking for a certified cheque or money order from Lafleur before proceeding with the job, something the customer is not willing to do considering its been roughly two years since he sent him the 50 per cent deposit and has nothing to show for it.

After months of frustration, Lafleur turned to review websites and found numerous others had reported similar experiences.

He began reaching out to the individuals who had also left negative reviews, and over the next several months he had heard from 11 others who claim to be in the same position as him.

"We're a group of 12 people that date back at least three years," said Lafleur.

"There's a lot of people at play here and we represent about $64,000 in total."

Trish Barclay is one of the individuals in the group.

She says she sent Walker a $10,000 deposit in January, which was said to cover half of the total price tag of replacing the windows in her recently purchased Wakefield home.

"He said, 'I can have your windows in before you get here in March while there's nobody in here,' and so yeah, it sounded great to me," said Barclay.

"He kept changing the dates. It was tomorrow, and then it was one more day, and then it was next week and I started worrying."

All of the delays have put Barclay's life on hold.

"I haven't even moved into my place yet because I can't do that until the windows are done," she said.

"I feel violated and I feel betrayed."

Richard Cyr is another customer who is still waiting to see proof of purchase for the custom windows he is hoping to have installed in his Ottawa home.

He sent Vue Windows an $8,650 deposit in July 2022 and was promised the windows would be delivered before winter.

Not only has the work still not been completed, he says there is no evidence the windows were ever ordered.

"I even showed up at the manufacturer of the windows and sat down with a gentleman who was very helpful and he confirmed to me that the windows had never been ordered through Dennis, through Vue Windows, as opposed to what I have been told by Dennis that they had been ordered," Said Cyr.

"It's frustrating. You try to call to resolve the issue and you're being told stories that you want to believe but you constantly put the phone down and say, 'I don't think this is going anywhere.' It's just time consuming and because of the amount of money, it's difficult to engage in any type of legal action."

Lafleur and Barclay say they have filed police report against Vue Windows and Walker.

Ottawa Police tips when seeking a contractor

Ottawa police would not comment on anything related to the company or Walker, but Det. Shaun Wabeh from the Fraud Department says there are some red flags to be aware of.

"Never feel pressure. A lot of them will put pressure on you saying things like, 'You need to order now, there's a sale now, and you need to order now to catch a deadline.' A shady contractor will want that money right away," said Det. Wabeh.

"As soon as there's pressure to pay right away or to pay up front, pull away. That should be a red flag. Don't ever feel pressured. These guys do this for a living. They should be able to come back the next day or the next week."

Wabeh says people should also do their research on a company before committing to anything and before reaching out for a quote.

"Check Better Business Bureau, check reviews, do your research," he says.

"It's all available on the internet right now. Do your research. A lot of people get defrauded, then do the research and say 'Oh, there are 37 complaints!' If you had you done that before you would have seen the warning signs."

Wabeh adds another important step is to ask for contact information for the contractor's previous clients and follow up with those references.

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