Vernon contractor that sent senior 'disingenuous' bills loses in court | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon contractor that sent senior 'disingenuous' bills loses in court

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July 11, 2019 - 6:00 PM

VERNON - A Vernon contractor who failed to fix an elderly client's furnace but still pursued their unpaid bills through the courts, got a rough ride by the judge.

Along with several failed visits to Allan Muir's rural Armstrong property, the contractor billed the client for a tow truck after they got stuck in the snow in his driveway, and on another occasion indicated they'd charge him for helping push his car out of the snow.

Judge Jeremy Guild said Aslan Electrical, Plumbing, Gas Fitting, Refrigeration and Sheet Metal Services tried several "disingenuous" attempts to have Muir pay for work that he never agreed to and for which he was never responsible.

While the company went after Muir through the small claims court, in Judge Guild's decision he states Aslan Electrical is "entirely unsuccessful in its claim."

According to the June 28 court decision, Aslan billed for 26 hours and still failed to fix the issue with his oil furnace. When Muir finally gave up and called a different contractor, the problem was fixed in an hour and a half.

Aslan Electrical paid several visits to the Armstrong property in February 2018 after Muir called them requesting they come and fix the oil furnace he used to heat his house. Although repairs done to the furnace never fixed it, the company continued to bill Muir for return visits including travel time.

According to the judgement, Muir is an elderly gentleman who has some cognitive impairment that is increasing. Once Muir's family became aware of the situation, they attempted to resolve the issues with Aslan Electrical and paid one invoice. Although the company had still failed to fix what they were billing for, they refused to go back to the property and fix the furnace until all of their accounts were paid in full.

The family stuck to their guns and refused to pay.

Throughout the court decision Judge Guild is critical of the company's work stating the "initial service obscured the problems" and the company installed an incorrect part that didn't work properly.

On the company's first visit to the Armstrong property, their van got stuck in the snow in Muir's driveway and a tow truck had to be called. The firm sent the towing bill to Muir and used chains on their subsequent visits.

On another visit, an Aslan employee got their vehicle stuck in the snow in the driveway. Muir then drove his car to meet him but also got stuck. The employee asked whether he wanted him to look at the furnace or help him push his car. Once in the house, the employee had a "cursory look" at the furnace and "did not do anything necessary" but still sent a bill.

Judge Guild said that nobody expected payment for helping someone push a vehicle stuck in snow in the middle of winter.

On top of the invoices, the firm also charged $2 a month plus 1.5 per cent on unpaid invoices.

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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