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Report: #1152719

Complaint Review: TrustedPros - Toronto Ontario

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: Integrity First — Toronto Ontario Ontario
  • TrustedPros 1 Dundas Street West, Suite 2500 Toronto, Ontario Canada

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Consumers please be aware of a company currently operating by the name "TrustedPros" and formerly named "Handy Canadian" among multiple other names throughout the world sharing the similar branding.  This individual falsely posted information relating to one of our companies from someone who was out to slander us in a defamatory manor. 

The Owner, President & CEO Max Sheppard is a fraud that cannot be trusted.  He runs multiple sites in order to defraud users and generate revenue in a malicious way.

He should be put in jail and surely will be if enough business owners who’ve been deceived bring his actions to the attention of this website.  DO NOT join this website or any other website that he controls.  If you already are please follow the media as we’re currently looking to take legal action in order to seek damages for the problems he’s caused us.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/06/2014 02:37 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/trustedpros/toronto-ontario-m5g1z3/trustedpros-handy-canadian-max-sheppard-beware-of-this-company-toronto-ontario-canada-1152719. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
3Author
5Consumer
1Employee/Owner

#9 Author of original report

Real Name: Gerald Maxwell Sheppard

AUTHOR: - ()

POSTED: Saturday, August 05, 2017

Please be advised that Max Sheppard's real name is actually "Gerald Maxwell Sheppard" to clarify previous postings.

Back in 2006 he used to use his real name in postings but in typical Handy Canadian/TrustedPros fashion started using an alias.

He has also been involved in multiple trademark disputes and abandoned the registered trademark to "TrusedPros" after it was disputed by Saskatchewan based S&E Trusted Online Directories Inc. and ultimately abandoned during opposition.

Handy Canadian Trademark: Status - Abandoned

ic.gc.ca/app/opic-cipo/trdmrks/srch/viewTrademark?id=1602752&lang=eng&tab=reg

TrustedPros - Abandoned - Anyone can use this name

ic.gc.ca/app/opic-cipo/trdmrks/srch/viewTrademark?id=1671314&lang=eng&tab=reg

TrustScore is registered and probably the front of the next scam as he can continue using this the same way that TrustedPros was started to transfer over from Handy Canadian.

 

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#8 Author of original report

Consumers must be protected too...

AUTHOR: - ()

POSTED: Sunday, July 30, 2017

Ratings queried after consumer loses money to A+ contractor

Don't trust ratings, says consumer watchdog

An Edmonton man is questioning the quality of information from the Better Business Bureau after paying money to one of its top-rated companies and getting nothing in return.

Tyler Hauck used the BBB, along with a customer-reviews website, to help him choose a professional plumber.

“I thought the Better Business Bureau would give me a good indication of whether this fellow was professional or not.”

He chose an accredited BBB member whom the organization said had been in business since 1990 and which it had awarded its highest “A+” rating.

But Go Public discovered the company was a recent start-up; that its owner is bankrupt owing more than a $1 million and was recently found guilty of securities fraud.

After Go Public began asking questions about the record of company’s owner, the Better Business Bureau of Central and Northern Alberta revoked the company’s accreditation and changed its rating to “F.”

The change came too late for Hauck.

Months after his bathroom was supposed to have been re-plumbed, Hauck is still washing his baby in the kitchen sink and is out $400.

Consumer wanted a qualified professional

Hauck and his wife have spent the past decade renovating their modest bungalow In south Edmonton.

The latest project began at the beginning of July with an overhaul of the main bathroom.    

Hauck did most of his renovations himself, but preferred to leave plumbing and wiring to the professionals.

“I want everything to be done to code,” he said.

Do you have a story tip for Go Public?

A friend told Hauck about HandyCanadian.com, a website where people can post a description of the job they want doing and which different contractors can access.

One of the contractors who contacted him was Dedric Robinson, owner of The Improvement Source.

Before negotiating with Robinson, Hauck searched for reviews of the company.

“I didn’t walk blindly into this,” Hauck said. “I definitely looked at as many websites as I could to see if he had a positive rating.”

At the time, HandyCanadian.com gave The Improvement Source five stars out of five and the BBB rated it “A+.”

Problems immediately

Hauck said he felt a bit wary because he dealt with Robinson only by phone and email.

“But he definitely sounded well-spoken and [his emails] were well-worded and well-written.”

They agreed the work would be completed within three days.

Then Robinson asked for a $400 deposit.

“That set off a bit of a red flag,” Hauck said.

But he agreed to pay the deposit, via email transfer, based on Robinson’s assurances and the apparent good reputation of the company.

Hauck said didn’t hear anything else until the day the work was supposed to have been completed.

Someone saying he was with The Improvement Source called offering to come by that evening.

Hauck said the man arrived in an unmarked van and didn’t appear professional. He said his impression was borne out when the man failed to show up to do the job two days later.

“I called him and said, ‘Are you going to do the work?' and he said, ‘I’m not comfortable in doing the work. I’m not really a plumber,’” Hauck said.

Hauck then got an email from someone else at The Improvement Source who said he could possibly come by mid-month.

But, Hauck said, no one ever did come and that despite repeated phone calls, texts and emails, he never heard from The Improvement Source or Dedric Robinson again.

Hauck filed a complaint about The Improvement Source with the Better Business Bureau, but the BBB had already closed the file in September when Robinson failed to respond to its inquiries.

Fined, banned and bankrupt

It turns out that The Better Business Bureau of Central and Northern Alberta accredited The Improvement Sources, giving it its highest rating, even though Robinson‘s financial and legal problems were already a matter of public record.

According to an online profile, Robinson was a banking executive in the United States before entering real estate sales and development in Edmonton in 2004.

In 2007, he founded LibertyGate Investment  Corp, which described itself as a “premier land and real estate investment corporation.”

The company raised millions for projects in Edmonton, Cold Lake and Regina.

In 2011, Robinson filed for bankruptcy and was also fired by an Edmonton real estate company for “unethical practise.”

The Alberta Securities Commission investigated Robinson and LibertyGate in February 2012 for illegally trading securities.

In January 2013, a bankruptcy judge didn’t believe Robinson was an “honest and unfortunate bankrupt” and refused to discharge him from more than $800,000 in debts.

The commission threw the book at Robinson in May 2013, banning him from the Alberta capital market for 20 years, fining him personally $200,000 plus $77,000 in costs and permanently banning LibertyGate.

All of this — including the fact The Information Source was in fact only a year old — was public knowledge when Tyler Hauck went to the BBB website looking for information on the company.

In fact, the BBB had opened a separate file on LibertyGate in 2008.

The BBB says The Improvement Source’s loss of accreditation and new “F” rating was the result of six customer complaints against it, as well as the separate Alberta Securities Commission action against LibertyGate.

Top rating a mystery, says BBB

Go Public asked the BBB how it could fail to make the connection between The Improvement Source, Liberty Gate and Robinson.

“I couldn’t honestly tell you,” said Ron Mycholuk, public relations manager for the BBB of Central and Northern Alberta.

“Sometimes the information gets to us and sometimes it doesn’t,” he said.

“We never want misses — someone who’s doing things wrong to have an “A” or an “A+” — but it’s the nature of the beast. There’s so many businesses out there.”

Mycholuk tells people not to rely solely on BBB ratings.

“It’s not that you have to take what we say with a grain of salt,” he said, “but you need to supplement what you get from us with other sources, especially people that you trust, people that you know, whether it’s friends or family, who have done business … with other contractors.

There were glowing, but short, five-star reviews for The Improvement Source when Hauck went to HandyCanadian.com.

We asked Max Sheppard of HandyCanadian.com how the site verifies if reviews are real.

“We do not claim that every review that is approved and posted on our site is authentic,” Sheppard said in an email. “We do however feel that customers can rely more on the reviews available via our site than any of our competitors.”

HandyCanadian.com has since changed its name to TrustedPros.ca.

‘Buyer-beware’ with websites, says watchdog

Bruce Cran of the Consumers’ Association said “buyer-beware” when reading on-line reviews including the BBB’s.

“I wouldn’t put much faith in them at all,” Cran said.

“I don’t know of any … reason why you would trust anyone more because they were listed as a member of the Better Business Bureau than if they weren’t,” he said. “After all, their source of funding is the member you are looking at.”

Cran says neither sites like TrustedPros nor the BBB offer any guarantees about the quality of their ratings.

Robinson returned calls two weeks after Go Public first tried arranging an interview. He insists Hauck's $400 was for his subcontractor to buy materials and that Hauck cancelled the job before it was done, leaving him with $400 worth of materials he couldn’t use.

Robinson says he has nevertheless refunded the money to Hauck “as an act of kindness.”

“Hopefully, having the refund will appease him even though the refund isn’t necessarily required and is going to cost us money on this end.”

Robinson is now operating another company, Capitol Renovations, rated five stars by TrustedPros.ca

Source: CBC - cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/bbb-ratings-queried-after-consumer-loses-money-to-a-contractor-1.2158674

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#7 Author of original report

Progress Update

AUTHOR: - ()

POSTED: Sunday, July 30, 2017

It's been some time since we posted our initial report as we have been busy with other issues but now have the time to deal with this company.  Please submit any info you may have relating to Max Sheppard, TrustedPros and/or the former Handy Canadian in confidence to "trustedproscase@gmail.com".  Our lawyers are currently building a case but we need more victims to come forward to put the process in motion on a grander scale.  We will not stop until Max Sheppard pays for his fraudulent activity, no matter how much this ultimately costs or time it takes to ensure justice prevails. 

We need to send a message to the industry that profiting from false online reviews while damaging the integrity, livelihoods and probability of legitimate business owners is not only unacceptable but also legally reprehensible.

Once again, that email is trustedproscase@gmail.com.  Any communicaitons sent to this address are auto-forwarded to our legal team.

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#6 Consumer Suggestion

File complaints with the Privacy Commisioner!

AUTHOR: TiredofLies - (CANADA)

POSTED: Tuesday, March 14, 2017

 I strongly urge anyone having similar issues with this company to file a complaint with the Privacy Commisioner of Canada. They breach numerous Canadian Privacy Laws, responses to requests for information are given a brush off as well. They threaten legal action if you try to withdraw consent even though your right to do so is protected under Canada Law. They are subject to the laws and requirements of PIPEDA and this gives you rights! They can also be fined and victims awarded losses at the federal level!

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#5 UPDATE EX-employee responds

type-o

AUTHOR: Witness - (Canada)

POSTED: Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sorry that email address is wrong, it's needawitness@yahoo.com

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#4 General Comment

Also victims and starting a lawsuit

AUTHOR: Misc. - (Canada)

POSTED: Thursday, September 08, 2016

we are initiating a class action lawsuit with this joke of a company. This guy has to be put to justice for slander and defamation of character and more. We are victims as wel.



  http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Trusted-Pros-/internet/Trusted-Pros-Trusted-Pros-Home-Improvement-Website-Fraudulant-Bottom-Feeders-Toronto-Int-1324503

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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Witness

AUTHOR: Witness - (Canada)

POSTED: Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hello not sure if I can help or not but I used to work for them and was the main programmer for several years up until 2011. If you need a witness you can contact me at needawittness@yahoo.com and we'll take it from there.

During that time there was only Max, Mike (his partner that passed) and myself that took care of the site, at one point it was the three of us working out of a basement. I helped create the automated process which at the time consisted of checking for duplicate IP addresses or passwords against other users in the database.

Since I have no contractual obligations to them I'm free to talk about anything that happened there…

I'm in Ontario btw the site wouldn't let me pick it...

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#2 Consumer Comment

Trusted Pros is FRAUD!

AUTHOR: Eldin - Crowned - ()

POSTED: Friday, June 27, 2014

Dear MAX or Trusted Pros! 

Speaking from experience everything posted in this ripoff report about you or your website is 100% accurate and true, let me justify you have driven my company to the ground and I will go across the globe to make sure you pay for it. In a comment you made below where you say "only way to take off a negative review is to provide your fraudulant company with proof that the review is not legitimate??' now let me ask you something shouldn't it be the other way around the person posting the review should have to prove their grounds before their review may be approved?? JUST SAYING!!! 

You have posted countless reviews under my company's name that have absolutely no connection to my company at all, and trust me when I tell you I will sue till you are left with just your boxers on and nothing else, and if you really want my true opinion I think idiots like you should be banned from being able to touch any kind of electronic device, better yet they should give you community service and let you take care of sheep on a farm.

 

TRUSTED PROS IS FRAUD that's the bottom line.

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#1 REBUTTAL Owner of company

About TrustedPros and Reviews

AUTHOR: Max - ()

POSTED: Saturday, June 07, 2014

Hello Integrity First,

Each review we receive at TrustedPros is run through a very rigorous screening process (automated and manual). Over 30% off all reviews posted to TrustedPros are determined to be fraudulent and rejected.

Our policies regarding reviews are:

  • A consumer that has hired a contractor is entitled to post a review (positive or negative) regarding their experience. Once a review is submitted the business owner is notified immediately of the review and it is placed in queue with our validation team where it usually takes 3-5 business days to properly screen and validate. If the review is approved, it is posted live to the corresponding company profile page.

  • The only ways to remove a negative review are:
    • The contractor resolves any outstanding issues with their client and their client requests removal.

    • If the contractor feels the comments posted by their client are untrue and provide us with documents to support that those comments are factually false, the review will be removed.

    • If the contractor feels the comments posted are untrue and pursues legal action against their client or, if there is an active legal matter related to the work performed i.e. their client didn’t fulfill the terms of the contract, withheld payment etc., the review will be placed into pending status until a decision is made by the courts. If the courts rule in favour of the contractor, the review will not be reposted however, if the courts rule in favour of their client, the review will be reposted live.

  • Unlike this website ‘Ripoff Report’ and many others, we DO NOT allow anonymous reviews. We feel that complete transparency is needed for all parties involved, especially when false negative comments are posted and by allowing anonymous reviews the business owner or individual is unable to properly defend themselves. Additionally, we feel that reviews posted anonymously are usually done this way because the statements made are untrue – wouldn’t you agree ‘Integrity First’?  

Because of our policies we have helped many homeowners rectify problems with the contractors they’ve hired, and others avoid the potential headaches of hiring certain contractors. We’ve also helped thousands of reputable contractors across Canada effectively market and build their business.

As explained above and likely explained to you before, if you’re able to provide us with proof that the client you speak did actually post false comments about you and/or your business, we would definitely remove the review. However, until such proof is provided there is nothing we can do.

Other sites owned by myself are HandyAmerican.com (soon to be TrustedPros.com ). Last year we were able to obtain the domain names TrustedPros.ca and TrustedPros.com. Since most of our members are not just ‘Handymen’ we decided that TrustedPros better reflected our business and the services offered by our members so we switched our name from HandyCanadian Inc. to TrustedPros Inc.

If you or anyone else has questions about TrustedPros, I would be happy to discuss them with you directly.  I can be reached at max@trustedpros.ca

Regards,


Max

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