A Winnipeg couple is upset with a local contracting company for not finishing a $15,000 deck project that was supposed to be built two weeks ago, in time for a big family event.

Carla Mohammed says she and her husband are waiting for The Deck Man to complete the deck, fence and pergola they had hired the company to build at the side of their Southdale house.

"This job was supposed to be finished by the 15th of July," she told CBC News on Tuesday.

Mohammed said she and her husband called The Deck Man after seeing an ad in a flyer, and a verbal agreement sealed the $15,000 deal.
 
She had wanted the brand-new deck in time for her grandson's christening celebration this past weekend.

"We wanted to have it here, at home, after the church," she said.

Mohammed said they paid for about 80 per cent of the project, but the carpenter has refused to finish the work until the balance is paid.

"We were really impressed by the way he spoke and his personality and everything that we went ahead trusting and well not knowing that he isn't really the Deck Man," she said.

A spokesperson for The Deck Man told CBC News that the carpenter the Mohammeds signed on with has been fired for allegedly misrepresenting the company and taking the project on himself.

Calls to the carpenter have not been returned.

Do your homework, say provincial officials

Staff with the Manitoba government's Consumer Protection Office reminds people to do their homework before hiring someone for renovations.

"Get at least three estimates from contractors within that estimate," said Jacques Lafournaise, manager of licensing with the protection office.

"Make sure that the work is detailed on there as well as start dates and completion dates."

Lafournaise said it's also a good idea to seek referrals from friends and family members.

The Manitoba Home Builders' Association and the province are promoting a website called RenoMark that lists contact information for reliable and reputable contractors.

Mohammed and her husband, who are both retired, say they hope to cancel the payments they made or at least get the deck finished soon.

"I don't have any more money to put out towards a deck to pay someone else," she said.