Ont. homeowner demands compensation for sheds that collapsed under heavy snowfall
When his new resin shed collapsed during its first Canadian winter Dan Regaudie, says he was surprised. When a second identical shed collapsed two weeks later, he says he was shocked. "My first response was you have got to be kidding me." Regaudie said. "When I reviewed the video I went ‘Wow’."
The Sudbury homeowner says when the two resin sheds collapsed earlier this year, in February, he thought he would be able to get a refund, but his requests for compensation have been turned down by the manufacturer.
He says a traditional wooden shed stood for almost 20 years outside his Sudbury home, but when it came time to replace it in August 2018, he decided to go with two smaller resin sheds. "It's very hard to find a good pre-fabricated wooden shed, you may as well build one from scratch. So I researched resin sheds and they seemed to have very positive reviews online."
Resin is a composite blend of plastics that can mimic the look of metal, stone and other materials. Resin sheds are becoming increasingly popular because they are maintenance-free, easy to assemble and are relatively inexpensive compared to wooden sheds.
The first resin shed collapsed in February of this year. The second one buckled two weeks later and was captured on his high-definition video security system. Regaudie believes the sheds have a design flaw.
"I noticed when we were putting it up, the back of the shed was very questionable in terms of strength and bracing." He added "I paid over $2,700 dollars for these sheds. If it would have just been one that collapsed I would have said it was a fluke. But these are two identical sheds, bought at the same time and the collapse is the same on both."
The sheds were manufactured by Rubbermaid. When he first reached out to the company he was told there was excessive snow on the roof of the sheds that caused them to collapse.
"The reviews of the sheds led me to believe that they had a normal strength capability that would handle the snow." Regaudie said "The expectation is that a roof on a shed should be able to handle the normal snow loads even of a heavy winter." He also told Rubbermaid the sheds are being sold in many areas that get significant snowfall.
"Sudbury is not the far north. If you look at the U.S. we are about the same latitude as Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana. We are no different than many states where these sheds are being sold" Regaudie added.
In discussions that went back and forth with the company a Rubbermaid Customer Care representative told Regaudie he would be issued a partial refund of the cost of the sheds, almost $1,200, but that it was not a warranty claim because the damage was caused by “an act of nature.”
He agreed to the compensation, but before he received the funds he received another notice from a Rubbermaid representative this month who told him “Because of the amount of your cheque request, it had to be approved by Rubbermaid Corporate. They have reviewed your case and rejected your claim.”
CTV News contacted Newell Brands, the owner of Rubbermaid, and their Corporate Communications spokesperson said, “We have no comment.”
Regaudie now has two damaged sheds on his property and still feels he deserves some kind of compensation. He warns that anyone putting up a shed this summer should know when winter comes a resin shed may have to have its roof cleared of heavy snow or it could collapse.