N.S. customers paid thousands for windows that were never installed. Now, there’s hope

When Fred Dill and his wife, Frances, handed $5,200 over to Alweather Windows and Doors, the transaction was anything but casual.

Both retired, they spent several weeks over two summers picking strawberries and blueberries to help save up for the needed upgrades to their home. Last December, they paid, up front, half the total cost of six windows and one door to the company’s Berwick, N.S., location.

“I was just told it would take 10 to 12 weeks for delivery for the windows and that we would be first on the list for instalment around the first of May,” said Fred Dill.

But that day never came. To his surprise, Alweather closed all six locations in Nova Scotia and P.E.I. on April 1, citing “restructuring.”

Alweather Windows and Doors had been in operation across Nova Scotia and P.E.I. since 1973. New owners took over the business in 2021 and it went into receivership in February 2024. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

CBC News has spoken with four other Alweather customers who also paid deposits.

Dill assumed his hard-earned money was gone until this week, when Canadian Choice Windows and Doors announced it’s moving into all Maritime locations previously occupied by Alweather.

Charles Mamye, general manager of Canadian Choice in Eastern Canada, confirmed to CBC his company is not “taking over” operations. Rather, he said they took over the building leases from the landlord.

The company, which has several locations in Ontario and Western Canada, had been looking to expand east.

“It just made it a little bit easier for us to kind of move into the market,” said Mamye. “Whereas if we were starting right from scratch, we’d have to try and find buildings, get them configured properly, hire and train staff that may or may not have window and door selling experience, that type of thing. So it was just a good opportunity.”

On Feb. 10, 2023, Alweather Windows and Doors, under its umbrella company The Accurate Group, filed an application in Manitoba court for supervised restructuring proceedings.

In an emailed statement, former owner Stephen Segal said his company and associated entities have “operated in good faith” and  “to the maximum benefit of all creditors (including customers) and under the monitoring of the Court Appointed Monitor.”

“As I am not a Director or Shareholder of the Purchaser, I have no additional information on the current status of Alweather,” Segal said in a statement.

Moving forward

While Canadian Choice has not been involved in the legal proceedings, Mamye said his company is committed to honouring all deposits customers have made to Alweather with proof of a receipt.

He said he’s already hired 20 former staff members of Alweather, and many of them have strong opinions on how to treat customers who were left in the dark.

“Some of these customers were their neighbours, their friends, family that they had taken money from and now they can’t fulfil the orders. So part of the conversations were, you know, if I come to work for you, we need to find a way to help in the community,” said Mamye.

Canadian Choice Windows and Doors is moving into all locations previously occupied by Alweather.
The Canadian Choice Windows and Doors office in Charlottetown. The company has announced it’s moving into all Maritime locations previously occupied by Alweather. (Aaron Adetuyi/CBC)

Dill said it’s a step in the right direction, but he’ll believe it when he sees it.

“I’m not paying no more money down until I actually have the windows and doors in here,” he said.

Canadian Choice Windows and Doors plans to open the new locations on June 19.  

“We probably won’t have a full complement of installers and stuff like that, but we’re going to continue to work at that as we go forward,” said Mamye.

Too little, too late?

Taylor Woods, who paid a nearly $7,000 deposit to Alweather in December, is not planning to claim a credit through Canadian Choice. While she said she admires the effort, she has moved on to another company.

“We’ve already been waiting for months and months for these windows and doors. We have a bit of a timeline on our end too, so it doesn’t really help me and I am not going to give any more money to a company that’s taking the same place as the last one who screwed us over,” said Woods.

Taylor Woods paid nearly $7,000 to Alweather in Truro.
Taylor Woods of Truro paid Alweather Windows and Doors nearly $7,000 last December. She said has already found a new company to do the work and won’t be accepting store credit from Canadian Choice. (Angela MacIvor/CBC)

She said she will be fighting for her money back from Alweather. Woods has filed a small claims case against the company and will be looking into what recourse she has as a creditor through the ongoing legal proceedings in Manitoba.

Woods is not the only one left with a feeling of distaste. Fiona Traynor paid a deposit of $500 last August.

“I think it was on the management at Alweather who should have been openly and transparently telling consumers about what was happening — that they were filing for restructuring, and they didn’t do that. At no time have I received any information from that company, from the law firm, from any consultant who also was working on this insolvency plan, from any court,” said Traynor.

“I never received any information from anybody that there was a claims process.”

Scanning a list of creditors submitted to the court for Alweather Windows and Doors, Traynor said it’s disappointing to see the Canada Revenue Agency and several local businesses, but no customers.

“They owe me money,” she said.

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