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Vernon cabinetmaker ordered to pay $2,500 for shoddy work

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A Vernon cabinetmaker is on the hook for $2,500 after losing in the small claims court over his shoddy workmanship.

According to a June 28 BC Civil Resolution Tribunal decision, Chauntal Skemer contracted Corey James Stephenson's company Novocastrian Construction to build and install new cabinets in her home.

The cabinet maker quoted $3,100 and Skemer paid $2,255 towards the bill.

However, Skemer said Stephenson used old and damaged material to build the cabinets. She also claimed he caused $1,500 in damage to the drywall when he installed them incorrectly.

She then headed to the online small claims court to get her money back.

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In the decision, Skemer said the contractor didn't use new material to build the cabinets.

"She says the outer edging was of poor quality and appeared 'chewed out' in several places, and the cabinet boxes appeared too damaged to be new material," the decision read.

Novocastrian denied this and said he bought the material especially for the job.

Often in small claims cases involving construction work, the Tribunal will ask for expert opinions so it can make an informed decision on the matter. Unhappy customers without expert reports often fail in their attempts to sue.

However, in this case, the Tribunal simply looks at the photos.

"The photographs show the cabinet boxes were obviously of poor quality," the Tribunal ruled. "There is visible damage to the cabinet boxes, including chips, scratches and dents along much of the cabinet box edging, along with peeling and what appears to be chewed or otherwise damaged edges."

The Tribunal said that regardless of whether the material was new or used the contractor built the cabinets using material that was "obviously damaged and in poor condition."

"I find doing so amounts to a fundamental breach (of the contract)," the decision read.

The Tribunal ordered Stephenson to pay back the $2,255.

Separately, the cabinetmaker argued that Skemer wouldn't let him into her property to retrieve the cabinets and collect his tools.

However, the Tribunal didn't buy it and pointed to text messages between the two where Skemer offered to drop off the cabinets and his tools but he refused unless she provided him an itemized list.

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Skemer also argued for $1,575 to repair her drywall.

The contractor disputed this and argued the wall was bowed and he suggested removing some drywall so he could install them and she agreed.

While Skemer denied agreeing to any drywall removal, the Tribunal found that expert evidence was needed to prove that work "fell below the required professional standard."

As no expert opinion was submitted to the Tribunal, this part of Skemers claim was dismissed.

Ultimately, the Tribunal ordered Novocastrian Construction to pay $2,500 to cover the money she'd already paid plus interest and fees.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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