Before they paid an initial deposit to a Vernon, B.C. cabinet company, more than a year ago, Coldstream couple Dane Carman and Laura Campbell say they thought their kitchen would be finished in roughly eight to 10 weeks.
It’s still under construction today.
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“It has been pretty stressful,” Carman said. “It has cost us a lot of money and a lot of time and even my workplace has been frustrated with me at times at the amount of effort that I’ve had to put into this kitchen.”
They are among several households that have contacted Global News with complaints or concerns regarding Vernon-based CK Design Kitchen and Bath Cabinetry.
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Customer complaints include unsafe or shoddy work and major project delays that find them living with unfinished kitchens, in some cases for months.
In response to the concerns, the business said in a statement that it is committed to providing customers “with the highest quality of service and products,” and that the business is in contact with clients and taking steps to address their concerns.
Carman and Campbell paid a 50-per cent deposit on their project to CK Design in December 2021, which amounted to over $11,000.
Carman and Campbell say they expected a fully-finished kitchen in the first few months of 2022, but installation was slow and inconsistent.
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“What they would get done in a day was sort of two, three doors and then they’d disappear. Then they’d be gone for a couple of weeks, and I couldn’t get a hold of them. I’d chase up and I’d chase up and then he would get aggressive back towards me and say, ‘We are just waiting on product,’” said Carman.
Campbell said at one point they pushed CK Design to get the project to the point where another business could install the countertops.
“We just said our countertops are coming in, we need to get them by this date, so he kind of make-shifted everything so that way we could have a functioning kitchen, but the quality of the construction was awful,” said Campbell.
“We pushed him just because…we were washing our dishes in our bathtub with two young kids. It was just not acceptable.”
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The couple says that by June of last year, well past the expected completion timeline, only about 60 per cent of the work was complete. By this point, in total, they’d paid the company more than $21,000.
While they had numerous quality concerns, the couple’s biggest worry ended up being about the safety of the work.
“The kitchen island actually collapsed on my lap and pinned my legs to a bar stool with our four-year-old son next to us. It could have been serious if it wasn’t me. It could have crushed him but the response [from the company] for that was ridiculous, he was just trying to clear his name and say that I’ve used excessive force, Carman said.
The company says the island damage was solely the fault of the homeowner, likely due to excessive force. The couple says it broke under normal use.
The clients say for more than half a year, no one from CK Design came back to the house.
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The family said it was earlier this month when the company finally returned to drop off material and by then the couple was not willing to let the company inside.
The company owner had also previously said he was not comfortable going on their property.
“When we got the last material there was a letter with it that said we are terminating the contract and we do not need to pay him the last five per cent. There was no letterhead. There was no signed copy and basically saying we have been harassing him,” Campbell said.
“We just laughed.”
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In the termination letter, CK Design blames the termination and delays on multiple factors.
The business said it covered the cost of redoing parts of the project multiple times and blamed the clients for the do-overs; claimed the couple harassed people associated with the business; said the client caused damage to parts of the project and claimed CK Design was unable to finish the installation because of a lack of clear instructions from the client.
The couple says all the allegations in the letter are false.
The business said the main reason for most of the delays was supply chain and labour force disruptions in 2022 and added that its painter was also in a serious car accident.
CK Design pointed out its contract “does not have any time exclusions.”
However, during the gap of more than half a year when the couple says no one from the cabinet company came to their home to work on their project, CK Design was embarking on other projects and other customers told Global News they paid thousands in deposits.
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There were other cases that sound similar to what Carman and Campbell say they experienced.
In Armstrong, Darcy Backman signed a contract in August 2022 and says she paid a deposit of over $9,600, expecting a new kitchen for the holidays.
“The job was supposed to be done in 12 weeks which would have been Nov. 10. They swore to me it would be done by Remembrance Day because that is a big deal for our family and I was hosting Christmas dinner here so this is the kitchen I hosted it in,” Backman said, gesturing to her half-finished kitchen.
She still doesn’t have a finished kitchen months later and hasn’t been happy with the work that has been done.
“It is just a really poor product, and it is not what he told me I was getting, not even close. There is no way I can put any kind of weight on these shelves they are just going to collapse,” Backman said.
In total, Backman said her family has paid over $18,000 to CK Design for the project.
Later in August, Keiran Fitzpatrick, near Salmon Arm, says he also paid a deposit of more than $9,000, also expecting to show off a new kitchen by Christmas but says even after he paid a second deposit, the timeline for finishing the job came and went.
“Everything that is supposed to be painted on the island and then all of the boxes for the drawers themselves have just been endless delays and there has been reasons for [it]: Christmas apparently threw a wrench in things and the painter….There’s a long list of different excuses between car accidents and people’s family issues and all this stuff. It just keeps getting pushed,” Fitzpatrick said.
With all these projects still unfinished, Darryn Young said CK Design committed to a new project for his Coldstream home in October.
Young said his family paid an initial deposit of over $8,000 at the end of October and was expecting a finished kitchen by the first week of January, but that didn’t happen.
What’s more, Young, a contractor himself, believes the work that was done is not the custom-made cabinetry he ordered.
“The quality of the workmanship is not very good, it is actually terrible,” Young said.
“We don’t even have adjustments so we can adjust shelves. Those holes that you see were all done man-made like freehand. I’m just stunned at what I see.”
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After inspecting Carman and Campbell’s kitchen another cabinet company owner wrote that in his opinion it was “the poorest quality of materials and installation that I have ever seen in my 30+ years working in the kitchen cabinet industry.”
The couple have now brought in another business to proceed with the job.
Fitzpatrick has ordered new drawers himself and is hiring others to move forward with the kitchen. He says he approached CK Design last week about getting some of his money back and was told they could only allow him to keep the final 5 per cent hold-back fee for his project. Fitzpatrick said that amount is far less than what it will cost him to complete the kitchen.
“No one else should have to go through this….People work hard for their money, and this isn’t some big nameless corporation getting screwed over it’s families and stuff. It has been really frustrating for us and we don’t want to see people go through the same thing, Fitzpatrick said.
Young said after Global News reached out to CK Design about the customer complaints, the company left phone messages for him saying it had everything ready to go for his kitchen. But Young said he no longer trusts the business and as of Sunday night had not returned the calls.
Young is now considering trying to get a refund through a credit card.
“I’ve asked [a CK Design owner] on several occasions…just to give back the money. If he can’t deliver what we ordered, just give back the money,” said Young.
“He doesn’t want to give back the money because he doesn’t have the money.”
Backman is trying to work with CK Design to get more of the job done and said CK Design has done a little bit more work at her home since Global News visited last week.
All four households say they have paid the company thousands and have faced major delays and problems with quality issues with what has been done.
CK Design, for their part, does warn customers that the initial deposit is nonrefundable, and unforeseen delays may occur, it does not promise a specific completion date on the written quotes it provides customers.
When reached for comment on the litany of customer complaints, an owner said that he had a disgruntled employee but otherwise would not comment on the situation saying that Global News would be hearing from his lawyer.
Later Global News received a brief emailed statement from the owner.
“CK Design Kitchen Bath Cabinetry is committed to providing our customers with the highest quality of service and products. We are in contact with our clients and are taking steps to address their concerns,” the owner wrote.