Bible Hill shed builder complaints continue to add up
Mike Upton says he simply took too many orders. Deposits for unfinished sheds may top $50K
More unhappy people have come forward after a CBC News report about Bible Hill, N.S., shed builder Mike Upton, who has faced criticism from customers who say he has taken deposits but has yet to produce any sheds.
Since the initial story of seven people who said they are out a combined total of almost $15,000, CBC News has been contacted by another eight people who say they've given Upton combined deposits of more than $42,000. That would bring the total amount of money he's collected to over $57,000.
Andre and Heather Thibodeau of Lower Sackville say they have been waiting two years for either a shed or the return of their $1,500 deposit — a lot of money for their single-income family with four children.
The couple say they did everything they could to help speed up the process, electronically transferring the money the same day they met with Upton and removing their existing shed.
'Excuse after excuse'
"After we gave him the deposit he'd say he was going to show up on a Friday," Andre Thibodeau said.
"Friday would come and go. I'd contact him on Monday. There would be some emergency or some reason he'd have that he couldn't show up. He had to go the hospital was one excuse. Another excuse, he had crew on another site and he couldn't get them off. Throughout the entire summer it was excuse after excuse to delay the project."
When the couple threatened to take him to court, they say Upton stopped returning their calls.
Upton maintains he did refund their deposit but was unable to provide proof.
David George of Timberlea found Upton on Kijiji in May. He met with Upton and sent him a deposit the same day.
"I e-transferred $1,850," George said. "He said that was for material to build it. He said it would be ready in three weeks and he'd come and plunk it on the spot."
He says he, too, got nothing more than excuses.
"Sorry I'm behind. [I'll] have it for you in a couple of days. Couple of days came and went. Every time it would be I'm behind .[I'll] have it next week. For sure Tuesday, for sure Thursday and it never ever showed up," he said.
George said he subsequently asked for his deposit to be returned but was given more promises that were never kept.
"I never ever did get my money," he said.
George has started small claims court action against Upton and has filed a formal complaint with the RCMP but doubts he'll ever see his deposit.
"He [Upton] said you'll never get your money back. It will take you six months to go court. I've been down this road before. I know what I'm doing.
"He thinks he's above the law," George said.
Upton tells CBC News he is not trying to rip off anyone. He said he took too many orders, got behind and is now trying to make things right.
No longer taking deposits
This week he returned a $1,500 deposit to Lauren Eldridge, who gave him the money the first week of June with a promise her shed would be delivered in two or three weeks.
He disputes one of the latest claims for an $11,300 deposit. Upton said he did $7,300 worth of work but the couple involved say that's not true.
"Nobody's going to get stuck," Upton said, adding he is no longer taking deposits for sheds.