Mike Holmes, Marketplace & Max Pies – How not to get nailed by bad contractors
While researching hiring home improvement contractors, I stumbled on this insightful online video featuring Mike Holmes of Holmes on Homes on CBC Marketplace, a Canadian consumer affairs / investigative journalism show.
How not to get nailed … No one sees more renovation ripoffs than Mike Holmes. Marketplace uses hidden cameras to expose a contractor responsible for the latest disaster heâ€™s fixing.
Marketplace sets the Sting
“The real deal on Home Contractors … Home Improvement Horrors … Hidden Camera Job Quotes … Who to trust … One very questionable character.” Oh boy, I can’t wait.
The show seemed to have 2 goals. First to set up a “test” to illustrate to viewers how to weed out the good from the bad contractors, what to look for. And second, to “bait a trap” for one particularly bad contractor (Leo Dos Reis of Max Pies Home Improvements), who crops up time and time again in complaint email to Mike Holmes from disillusioned homeowners.
The contractors job quote and interview segment is instructive and revealing but not terribly surprising. None of them quite measured up to Mike Holmes’ wish list … but then his standards are pretty high.
The Max Pies expose and sting operation, however, is brutal. Mike Holmes investigates the job and points out how the home is now unsafe, how the room built for the family baby could endanger her health, and how the house doesn’t meet building code.
Wendy Mesley of Marketplace interviews unhappy homeowners. And investigates the misleading Max Pies web site which is revealed to use photos of work by other contractors without their permission. How one contractor has tried repeatedly to have his photos removed even to the point of engaging a lawyer, without success.
A Very Questionable Character Caught in the Act
Leo Dos Reis, the owner of Max Pies Home Improvements, is the “very questionable character” mentioned in the teaser. FYI, Max Pies Home Improvements in Canada is not affiliated with the similarly named US flooring company.
The piece de resistance is the video sting of Dos Reis in action – the sales pitch, the misleading actions and statements about his license and qualifications, the customers he claims to have worked for who’ve never heard of him, the protestations about his reputation, the over-priced estimate, and the high pressure sales tactics.
Turns out Mr. Dos Reis has been charged with 14 counts of fraud. Marketplace tried to meet with him but he beat a hasty retreat when he saw the cameras. Apparently, he was supposed to be in court again last week. I checked out the local home improvement rating & reviews site and he has a solid 3 Star Rating in spite of the above. Interesting. Very interesting indeed.
Five Star piece of reporting by Marketplace, irrespective of the city you live in; highly recommended viewing if you are considering hiring a home improvement contractor.
The episode originally aired in January but you can see all the videos on the Marketplace site – including a March update on the story. Apparently Dos Reis is now running Platinum Home Renovations – with the same photos and content. He is still also going to court. All of which makes him Canada’s poster boy for bad home improvement contractors. You can find out more about the charges by searching the Consumer Beware database for “Max Pies” then clicking on DOS REIS, LEONARDO. Searching for “leo dos reis” won’t bring anything up, due to the way the search is designed.
DOS REIS, LEONARDO
CRIMINAL CODE – CCC – FRAUD, 13 CHARGES ON 2006/05/03
CRIMINAL CODE – CCC – ATTEMPT FRAUD, 1 CHARGE ON 2006/05/03
CRIMINAL CODE – CCC – FRAUD, 1 CHARGE ON 2007/04/04
For more info about crusading contractor Mike Holmes check out the Mike Holmes -Wikipedia entry and the Holmes on Homes website. Holmes on Homes airs on the Discovery Home channel in the US and HGTV in Canada.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007 at 4:47 pm and is filed under Consumer Action, Consumer Beware, Contractor Complaints, Hiring a Contractor, Home Improvement, Mike Holmes, Ratings, Remodeling, Renovations, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.