Home renovator wanted on outstanding warrant
Alberta homeowners are warned that Chris Wright may be operating as a contractor in the province despite facing 22 charges.
Wright is wanted on an outstanding warrant for Fair Trading Act charges in Edmonton from September 2012. On October 1, 2013, Service Alberta laid additional charges against Wright in Medicine Hat.
“Alberta has strict rules for contractors who take money upfront, but there are still some who choose to operate outside the law. This government has put a plan in place to protect Alberta homeowners, with new administrative penalties, higher court fines and undercover sting operations that deter and penalize unlicensed prepaid contractors.”
Wright has used several company names including First Choice Sunrooms Ltd., Lamont Sunrooms and Exteriors, Canadian National Sunrooms and Solariums, and 1693020 Alberta Ltd. He typically targets elderly homeowners with promises to build a sunroom by a specified date. Consumers allege that the work is not completed.
Service Alberta charged Wright under the Fair Trading Act on September 26, 2012 after investigating a complaint from an 85-year-old woman who paid $26,680 for home renovation work. The consumer exercised her cancellation rights under Alberta legislation, but only received $8,000 back. Investigators were unable to find Wright to serve him with a court summons and obtained an arrest warrant.
Between October 2012 and May 2013, three Medicine Hat homeowners paid Wright $46,500 in advance for home renovation work. Following an investigation, Service Alberta charged Wright under the Criminal Code with three counts of fraud over $5,000 and three counts of theft over $5,000.
In addition to the Criminal Code counts, Wright faces 16 charges under the Fair Trading Act from Edmonton and Medicine Hat:
- four counts of operating without a prepaid contractor’s licence;
- four counts of failing to provide a refund after a consumer cancels a contract;
- four counts of using a contract that does not meet legislated requirements;
- three counts of misrepresenting his ability to supply goods or services; and
- one count of misleading or deceiving a consumer.
Wright was previously convicted in Calgary provincial court on March 23, 2007 of five Fair Trading Act counts of operating without a prepaid contractor licence. He received credit for four months served in jail awaiting trial, and was given a suspended sentence and 18 months’ probation with the condition that he not enter into any service contracts in Alberta.
Anyone with knowledge about the whereabouts of Wright is asked to contact the Medicine Hat Police Service at 403-529-8481.
Consumers who paid Wright before their project was completed are asked to contact Bill Ramage, senior investigator, Service Alberta, in Medicine Hat at 403-529-3123.
Dealing with Prepaid Contractors
Contractors who take payment before the work is complete and who look for work, discuss or finalize a contract away from a regular place of business must be licensed by Service Alberta and post a security. They must use a contract that includes an itemized price list, completion date and a statement of consumers’ cancellation rights.
Consumers can cancel within 10 days of receiving a prepaid contract, and up to one year if the prepaid contractor is not licensed or is using a contract that does not meet legislated requirements. The business must provide a refund within 15 days of cancellation.
Strong enforcement and tougher laws are part of the government’s plan to protect Alberta homeowners. In the past year the Alberta government has put new administrative penalties in place, raised the maximum court fine, and conducted undercover sting operations targeting unlicensed prepaid contractors and home inspectors.
Find out if a contractor is licenced:
- Visit: Online licence search
- Call: 1-877-427-4088 (toll-free in Alberta)
Home renovation tips (pdf)