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'I feel cheated': Ontario woman pays more than $100K for unfinished kitchen renovations

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An Ontario woman is out of more than $100,000 after paying a contractor for her dream kitchen, which was never completed.

"I've been in my house 20 years, and I never liked my kitchen and wanted something better, but I never should have trusted this guy," Toronto resident Mary Austin told CTV News.

Austin said she received a brochure from a company advertising kitchen renovations in her mailbox, so she contacted them in August 2021.

Ontario Certified Contractors and Builders Inc., the company from the brochure, accepted a downpayment of $18,000, but Austin said they didn't start working until seven months later.

Austin said the company owner only signed his name as Bill on the contract and was always pressuring her to pay more before work was done.

"He wanted $5,000, then it was $25,000, then $16,000. He did this many times," said Austin.

Austin said the contractors who poured the foundation and started framing the addition to her home hadn't been paid, so they all quit.

The kitchen renovation should have been done by Christmas 2021, Austin said.

According to Austin, the company she hired told her to purchase whatever kitchen appliances she wanted for the kitchen as it would be finished then.

But, after she handed the last installment cheque - totalling nearly $20,000 - she said nobody returned to work. The new fridge, stove and dishwasher she bought have also been sitting unused in her hallway and living room since last year.

"I gave him $107,00. I made a mistake, a big mistake, and it cost me so much money, and I borrowed money I have to pay interest on," said Austin.

"I feel depressed. I feel cheated. I feel like a fool because I should not have trusted that guy," said Austin.

CTV News Toronto repeatedly contacted Ontario Certified Contractors and Builders Inc., but did not hear a response back. Days later, the company's website was taken down.

Austin said she was better off before because the renovations ripped her deck and ruined her backyard. She said she doesn't have the money to finish her dream kitchen and is still figuring out what she will do.

"I can't sell it, and I can't live like that. I would like at least some of my money back," said Austin. 

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