“The guy is genuine when you talk to him. He is very believable,” Paul Higgins said, regarding Mike Upton of Better Built Construction on Pictou Road.
Higgins gave Upton a $2,000 cash deposit in April toward a $4,200 custom-built shed.
“It was to be a three-week delivery and I’ve got a receipt that says that,” Higgins said. “I gave the guy four weeks and then I started calling him. And when I called him, it was more stories about why the shed wasn’t there.”
After repeatedly being given a number of varying excuses as to why the shed had not been delivered, Upton eventually told Higgins he required an additional $1,600 toward the final cost and the shed would be delivered the next day.
Higgins paid the money but the shed was never delivered.
By late July a frustrated Higgins took his complaints to the Truro Daily News, who contacted Upton about his concerns. That ultimately resulted in him getting an initial refund of $2,000 and then a further installment of $1,000.
“While an effort has been made by Mr. Upton to refund my deposit, he has not done so completely,” Higgins wrote in an email to the Truro Daily News.
“Mr. Upton continues to promise/lie about when I should expect the refund. The Pictou Road business continues to operate and Mr. Upton continues to build sheds while past customers have not received their sheds or full refund of their deposits.”
Upton admitted to the Truro Daily News that he has made mistakes in the way he operates the business. But Upton said he has also encountered financial problems because of people he has done work for who have not paid him.
“I don’t want a bad report, we’re trying to change, OK,” he said, adding he no longer plans on accepting deposits for unbuilt sheds.
And while Higgins said he plans to proceed with his small claims court application, he is not optimistic about receiving the final $600.
“Based on Mr. Upton’s criminal past and failed business history it is doubtful refunds will be returned to customers or collect small court claims,” he said.
In 2005 Upton was sentenced to seven years in prison for robbing and attempting to rob the East Coast Credit Union in Upper Stewiacke, twice within two weeks.
As well, the Better Business Bureau of Atlantic Canada has posted an “alert” on its site for Better Built Construction.