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GlobalEdmonton
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Published online at GlobalTVEdmonton.com on March 7, 2011.


Linda Hoang, Global News: Monday, March 7, 2011

Global Edmonton Trouble Shooter wins consumer awards

Global Edmonton Trouble Shooter Julie Matthews was honoured Monday for her work helping consumers in the province.

Matthews was presented with two Alberta Consumer Champion Awards in the media category for helping consumers learn their rights.

She won for her three-part feature on consumer protection for buyers in the used car market and another for her two-part series on civil court.

The “Lemon Aid” series outlines steps consumers can take when buying a vehicle and red flags to watch for while her “Civil Court” series outlines the basics of the justice system and gives a simple breakdown of how to file a claim in small claims court.

Service Alberta minister Heather Klimchuk handed out the awards, and said the role the media plays in helping consumers is vital.

“The partnership of media is absolutely important in serving Albertans,” Klimchuk said.

“It means we can solve the problem together and get the word out quickly.”

Klimchuk is reminding consumers to educate themselves and be aware of what they might be getting into with a purchase.

“Knowledge is power,” she said. “At the end of the day, if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true.”

This is the Alberta Consumer Champion Awards fifth year and Matthews’ third win and second consecutive win in a row.

Click here to read the article on the Global Edmonton website.

2 comments

  1. Boardwalk 447, 500 Rivercrest Crescent moved me and my 3 year old son in without having cleaned the suite, though it was carpet cleaned poorly. I was told they would clean it while I was moving in. The cleaners came and when I inspected after, what I found was appalling. I pulled out the stove and under it was a lot of food and living bugs that seemed to be living under the lino (because that’s where they scattered to) with a few worms between the cracks as well. It was truly disgusting. I then pulled out the fridge and it was filthy too. The entire apartment was filthy with the previous tenants pills randomly scattered around the apartment for my 3 year old to find. Human pee behind the toilet on the wall and just really dirty spots on walls, switches etc… But worst of all was the cat pee. It was so strong smelling and it became more and more disgusting the longer you had to spend around it. Certainly didn’t feel like home to say the least.

    It was obvious that boardwalk staff had not conducted a proper “walk out” with the previous tenant. When you move from a boardwalk rental they give you a very long list of items to clean. Of those several items two are to pull out the stove and fridge and clean. Well they must not have looked and therefore they DID NOT DO THEIR JOB. In fact it was so disgusting I bet it hadn’t been cleaned under the stove for a few tenants.

    The moment I discovered the filth and bugs under the stove etc I grabbed one of my cameras and called the boardwalk 1800 number. I explained the filth I had found and the weird bugs ( that I had never seen before in my life). The first customer service representative, named Marcel, must not have had the training or capacity to handle a call about a bug problem so he simply hung up. I called back and spoke with someone else and explained that they needed to clean this place up very soon because it was not a place for a child and my video could go viral and people should know about this sub standard living condition.

    They said they would resend the cleaners the next day. So the next day I waited and waited, and I had to follow up, and finally they showed up… the boardwalk cleaners where expressing their unhappiness for having to come back. When I showed them the bugs and waist under the oven they started making excuses about how the place was supposed to be repainted and carpeted (because of the cat pee I suppose) so they explained that’s why they did a half effort job in the first place. A half effort first cleaning job that they claim to their boardwalk bosses took them 4 hours. I smell bs. Why did boardwalk move us into this apartment if they knew it needed paint and cat pee repairs?

    I left the cleaners there to clean and came back about 4 hours later. I looked at what they did and though they did clean under the stove everything else was still dirty. Human pee on the wall, stubble from the last tenant stuck on the wall, dirty walls, the previous tenants pills that where on the fridge scattered on the carpet for my 3 year old to possibly think are candy. .. and the cat pee smell getting stronger throughout the entire apartment

    I went to the office to complain and there was one of the cleaners. I told her that it was still disgusting and told her how i found the last tenants pills they picked up dropped on the carpet… not safe for a 3 year old. The cleaner argued and was very obnoxious towards me. She yelled and called me a liar, I said she should be fired for not doing her job and abusing the customers. She yelled and said I need to give her a list of what needs cleaning and I said use the one they give tenants to go over during their move out. Very unprofessional that they need me, an oilfield supply sales man, to be expected to take my time to show them how to do their job, a job they should know how to do. I expected the standard would be the same there as it was from the place I transferred from. That place was very well cleaned and met human living conditions.

    The wonderful and good heated Velka (csr) was very upset at the cleaner woman’s behavior, and useless cleaning job, so she offered to stay late into the night and clean. I thought what a truly decent human that cares about people. She really is out of place at boardwalk as she actually has empathy. I couldn’t let her stay late and clean on her own time though, but i thanked her.. and do I ever have a lot of respect for her.

    I brought in 3 cleaners and between them and me we cleaned for 5 hours that night. I have an invoice and they can attest to the terrible cat pee and the human pee splatter. We also used pest control to try and kill the bugs, because even after the boardwalk cleaners cleaned, there where still bugs under the stove and floor.

    I told Sobia (the area coordinator) that I had to bring in cleaners and she was willing to compensate me for it upon approval from her manager. I’m still waiting for that call back. I thought the place might work out if the one closet had the carpet torn  out but after another night I realized that the place needed too much work. It smelled very bad throughout the whole apartment. It needed new carpet (though the carpet looked OK, it was ruined by cat pee) and paint and a really good cleaning, My son began developing some big red rashes on the back of his legs and I was needing to take Claritin from what was probably an allergy to the cat and cat urine that was all over the apartment.

    One of the offers Sobia made was for me to be refunded for the cost of movers back to Edmonton. Something they are denying now. I feel I should be compensated beyond the refund for several reasons. I missed 2 days of work and several hours of work time just trying to get something sorted out, I lost out on several hours of profitable video editing time, I spent a lot of money on food having to eat out because the bug kitchen was too disgusting. Worst of all, and the most devastating loss, was me having to pull my son out of his preschool. The only preschool available to help my son with his special needs and the only reason I transferred to st albert sturgeon Pointe villas. Truly heartbreaking to set him back a whole year, but I needed to make a choice and I couldn’t compromise my son’s health, so we needed to leave that place and come back to Edmonton.

    I spent my rent money on movers and cleaners expecting to be refunded. Now boardwalk is not keeping their word but instead are telling me if I don’t get the rent money they are going to evict me and my son. They kept my transfer fee of 250 dollars as well so I’m out 900 on moving expenses, 500 on after hours cleaners, 250 for boardwalk transfer fee. That’s all my rent money. So looks like me and my son could be evicted.

    This whole experience is beyond frustrating. Every person I talk to uses these words “I understand” but not one person does anything to resolve this situation. And now they’re really beginning to show their true colors by trying to turn this around in me. Saying that I made up the bugs and cat pee. If I was making it up, then why did the staff tell me they called the previous tenant, the boardwalk maintenance man, and he confirmed the cat was peeing in the closets? If I’m making it up then how can the explain the video I made of me finding the food, filth and bugs and calling boardwalk, only to be hung up on by their customer service rep? And why would the movers and cleaners be willing to confirm the cat pee stench?

    Boardwalk has hurt me and my 3 year old son and now they just want to get rid of us. To evict us. Customers who have never been late on rent and have helped them to keep boardwalk village a safe place for a family to live. Customers they should be proud to have a relationship with. Customers that respect the property and the fellow tenants.

    I request the following:

    Full refund for the cleaners $500.00, movers $700.00 and gas approx $100.00 I have invoices for all. This doesn’t include all my other costs like babysitter and eating out.

    Transfer fee of 250.00 returned in full.

    Compensation for the failure of Boardwalk to provide a clean and acceptable living space for me and my son.  Resulting in the serious issue of him not being able to attend the preschool in St albert that the health system worked with me on getting him in. This is heartbreaking and devastating and for boardwalk to so callously not care about us is UNETHICAL. Hours of moving time wasted while I should have been editing video and the overall hardship this had caused my family.

    I am a reasonable and fair person and would be happy to resolve this together, shake hands and carry on happy with no complaints because living at boardwalk village is a nice place to live. I will just have to set my son back a year and put him in his special preschool in Edmonton when it becomes available.

    I hope someone reads this and helps us. We are good people and deserve to be treated fairly and with dignity.

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