Catherine U Tjd

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Entire uber experience was terrible

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Beginnning with my SCHEDULED pickup taking one hour, and being charged a $20 long distance driver fee. Ridiculous.
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Preferred solution: Full refund

User's recommendation: Don’t schedule

Carissa Hnc
map-marker Vancouver, British Columbia

Home/Basement Renovation

We hired Urban Abode to renovate our Elbow Valley home in Calgary and it has been nothing but a nightmare! They hire people who do not have a trade ticket, very sub-standard. Time lines were never meet. Over budget. My children were afraid of some of the people who came to work at the house. They were on drugs/ alcohol or both. Different people always coming and going. Never returning emails or phone calls. Do your homework before you hire this guy!!! We have Wooden Shutters in our garage that still need to be installed, I have no idea what is happening even though we were charged for installation.
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Hi, it's Brad McCallum, owner of Urban Abode here, and I'd like to make a response to the above complaint. I believe in fully taking responsibility for my company's actions, and I'm very disappointed to have read this complaint online.

Like any company working in home renovations in Calgary, with a tight labour market, entitled trades, and common delays like illnesses, material availability, I will admit there are challenges that can sometimes prove frustrating for the customer involved in ANY renovation, whether they hired Urban Abode, or another quality renovation firm. However, this is an incredibly unfair, and untruthful review of our company.

I won't go into great detail about things, but suffice it to say that one cause of delay on the project was the flood of 2013. We were wrapping up the project, just 3 days left on the main and second floor phase of the renovation when the flood hit.

The access to Elbow Valley was shut down for a few days, and we had trades who were affected. All of us had friends we were helping out at that time. We informed the customers on the day that the police came knocking at the jobsite that the area was being shut down, that we would need a few extra days to wrap up the details, to offset the few days delayed. Ask yourself it that sounds reasonable to you when judge the merits of this review!

The customers mentioned timelines. We had 60 days to finish the main and second floor renovation. That project was about $50k. DURING the renovation, the customers continued to add work to the project, nearly growing the scope and value of the work to 190% its original size.

Does it seem reasonable that the project could be completed in the same timeline as originally quoted when it nearly doubles in size? Well, even though that is not reasonable, we wanted to please our customers, so we did work to complete it on schedule. Of course, we didn't allow for a 100 year flood to spoil the last few days of the schedule, but no one in Calgary did. In order to get that work done, we told the customers we would push back the basement development's progress so we could focus on getting them to move into the main and second floor of their large home.

Does that sound reasonable to you?

The comment of over budget really bothers me. The customers were continually told of what the extra expenses would be if they continued to change the scope of work. There was no budget set, and if there was one, it was not dictated to me.

When a customer asks me to paint there kitchen, I provide a cost, get the approval, and then complete the work. That does not mean we are 'over budget.' Maybe the customers went over their own budget, but once again - how was Urban Abode suppose to know if we were continually asked to add more work. Between the basement and the main and second floor renovations the customers added over $70k in additional work and upgrades. These upgrades included home theaters, wine cellars, steam showers, etc.

Our contracts are one of the most transparent in the business, there was NEVER any suggestion that something was included in our contracts, and then charged for later. We have NEVER done that, nor has anyone ever said that we have done that - ever! Not until this complaint. The customers never told me these concerns either, just online.

Unfortunately, the customers seemed to show an extreme bias against working blue collar trades. I heard twice from them over the course of the project that someone wasn't qualified to do the work, and that someone may have been drunk or high. This is an incredibly unfair and untrue statement. Our wood finisher was working on the site on a Saturday because the customers wanted someone there.

He was sick, with diabetes and terribly painful neuropathy. He was having a bad day, and was in a lot of pain, and had taken his medication. They said he looked spaced out. However, there was no complaints about his work.

Our wood finisher worked with Urban Abode for a few months after this and had to cut back his hours continually due to his debilitating illness, eventually having to go on permanent leave due to his worsening condition. He was not high, not drunk, just working on a day that he was in a lot of pain because he was trying to complete the work. The second time the customer made a comment about one of our guys not being capable was when one of our labourers did some demolition. They performed the work well, but unfortunately the customers didn't appreciate what was involved.

When they saw the work he had done they concluded that he was unskilled and could not work in their home. Fair enough - they are welcome to choose who works in their home, but they arrived at an incorrect assumption based on their own lack of knowledge on what was needed to do the job.

The suggestion that we hire people without a trade ticket is patently false. All registered trades do the work of the skilled trades.

However, there are many moving pieces to renovations - delivery of materials, cleaning up of job sites, performing simple tasks - all of which can be handled by people who do not have a trade ticket. It's just not realistic to expect that a ticketed trade like an electrician is going to also be the person sweeping up your job site, any more realistic then it is to believe that your neurosurgeon will be cleaning bed pans. Sub-standard work? This is not the case, and never has been.

The home is beautiful. The customer wrote this review at a time when they wanted Urban Abode to refund them for $14000.00 of custom window shutters. That is the only reason I could imagine for the claim that work is substandard. The home is so incredibly nicely finished, the design so fantastic, and the quality of the work so high that I wish future customers of ours could walk through and judge for themselves.

Look at our work online - it's impressive. Look at our profile on Houzz - how many renovators do you see in Calgary with work as prolific and custom as Urban Abode's? Our quality and design are at the top of the pack, and we just won awards for customer service and design. Now, about those shutters.

The customers did order custom window shutters through Urban Abode. This was a mistake on OUR part. We are not a custom window shutter company, and there was a large learning curve to the process of ordering and getting everything right. In hindsight, I would have asked the customers to go directly to a custom shutter company.

The order was first delayed due to details of the order, then by a part of the manufacturer. When the shutters did finally arrive, months later then we had all originally planned there was a hitch - some were too tight - by a 1/16" of an inch. Remember - Urban Abode custom builds and finishes custom cabinetry all the time. We had three skilled carpenters at the time.

Custom fitting window shutters is not a problem for us! But there was a problem - the customers changed their mind about wanting window shutters. They felt they shouldn't need to be cut/adjusted to fit their extremely unsquare windows. They felt the paint was too perfect on the shutters that they didn't 'look' like wood, even though they obviously were.

They felt the view in their new home was too nice to cover up. They felt they waited too long - which I agree was unfortunate. The point is this - they would not allow us to install the shutters. They decided they did not want them.

But they were custom made!!! What was Urban Abode suppose to do? We were not allowed to install them. They sat in their garage.

The customers owed me nearly $40000.00. I was told I could receive payment if we refunded the shutters. As a business owner who had suppliers, trades and my own people to pay I was left with a challenging situation. Force what was lawful - the fact that you can not change your mind on custom built shutters, and fail to cover our expenses with people we made promises to, or to eat the cost, refund the $14000.00 and move on with our lives.

I still have all of the beautiful wood shutters sitting in my warehouse, unable to use anywhere because of the fact that they are custom built for that one particular home. I think this shows Urban Abode's integrity - not that we were dishonest in any way. The last item I want to discuss is communication. The customers once left me a voicemail at 11:45 at night.

When I called back at 9:05 a.m. the next morning, I was warned by the husband that his wife was furious. I was asked to call her and talk to her. I did, and I was told that 'wealthy people expect a different level of service.' In fact, throughout the project I was told about how wealthy people deserved better and special service, and that we should be on call 24-7.

Urban Abode does try to accommodate our customers requests, but they do have to be reasonable. The comment that we don't return emails or phone calls is only true if you believe that calling someone 8 times in a row without them answering is the equivalent to 'ignoring' them. If I was on the other line, or in a meeting, I would often return to find that my phone had been called 6-8 times. Including my home phone number, where I had two young children at home.

Every single time I saw they called, or emailed I responded. (Keep in mind that the industry standard set by RenoMark program states that the contractor will call the customer back in 48 hours at the most! Not 48 seconds.) The feeling that all of us working on the home were beneath them, second rate, lower class people was continually how we were treated. We weren't trusted, although we never did anything to lose that trust.

What I will say is that I've never been so poorly treated by anyone before in my life. I've never had someone speak to me the way I was spoken to by these customers. Because large sums of money were on the line, I just shrugged it away and always dealt professionally with the customers. I was continually SCREAMED AT.

We were THREATENED, told that they would "END OUR BUSINESS", call "GLOBAL TV", and they SCREAMED OBSCENITIES repeatedly on the phone. I'm not exaggerating - I have recordings which I'd share with their own neighbors to see just how poor this behaviour is, but I don't wish to embarrass the customer with them. So, at the end of the day, we refunded them $14000.00. We also paid for their hotel stay immediately following the flood because the flood was our fault in some inexplicable way.

We discounted thousands off of the invoice in addition to all of that. The customers even signed an agreement that they would not make this complaint in order to receive the $14000.00 refund - but as you can see they mislead me and they were the ones who were dishonest. This is unfortunate, because customers on sales calls have asked about this complaint, and it costs my company business, a business I've ran with integrity and honesty from the start as a way to provide for my own family, and to give them the best future I can. I'm so thoroughly disappointed and hurt that the customers would have made these complaints, and so I must defend myself.

There are so many variable in home renovations, that things can go wrong, and sometimes delays can occur. We do what we can to mitigate these, and we always work with the customers to provide a more-than-reasonable solution. Our customers, and their referrals, are our businesses lifeline. If a mistake ever happens on a jobsite, we always take accountability and make it right, and in the end, I feel that's exactly why you should hire us - and disregard this unfair complaint.

With every project, we can look back and see how we can improve as a company, and this project is no different.

We wouldn't get order window shutters again, we would make sure the customers fully understand the implications of added work on timelines, and we would be careful to get into business with people who treat us with less professionalism then we treat them.

reply icon Replying to comment of Guest-864218

Hi Urban Abode,

I am a neighbor of this family and witnessed first hand how this company operates. All I can say is proceed with caution!

I would not want anyone to be taken advantage of, Calgary has one of the fastest growing markets and with that comes a lot of people who make false promises.

Do Your Homework! This is not the only complaint against this company.


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Lia Xjm
map-marker Calgary, Alberta

Incomplete Contractor Work

I hired Urban Abode, a company specializing in basement development, to finish my partially developed basement here in Calgary. They largely exceeded their timeline of finishing the basement and seemed as though I was put to the bottom of their priority list being that I am a single woman living on my own who may not have experience in approaching these situations. After numerous phone calls and emails, they finally contacted me again to begin finishing their work. It was months later. THey came and did the work but after I realized that some things were still left unfinished it took me several more weeks and months to get them to come back and fix them or finish them. Now I am trying to sell my home and yet again, more issues have arisen with the lack of completed jobs in the basement. I have called and left voicemails for the head contractor but have not received a call back. These are things that should have been completed the first time around but that I didn't notice until now. So they would have known and not told me. As a single woman living on her own, I have experienced a great deal of disappointment in dealing with urban abode contractors. They do not respond to your requests until you have to go to great lengths to get their attention. I would not recommend this company.
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As the owner of Urban Abode, I'm writing to express a few of my comments in regards to the complaints mentioned here. I don't do this to disregard them, but rather to share what we've done to address these issues, and to ensure they do not happen again.

The majority of these issues took place over a 6-7 month period of time from late fall 2011 to early spring 2012. I should say first, as the owner of Urban Abode, the fault for these issues fall squarely on my shoulders. At the time we experienced a large stretch of growth based on a great reputation 6 years in the making and a large referral base. At this time, to help with the growth, I had brought on a project manager who started off seeming very capable of doing the work, with his own list of referrals. As time went on it became apparent that things were being missed. Projects became delayed, issues took too long to be addressed, and in some cases we needed to re-perform portions of our work. I began to feel that possibly he needed assistance, and that maybe he had too much too handle. I did my best to assist and actively began working with helping him perform his duties. In that assistance I began to see how poorly he was handling his responsibilities. He made excuses and denied responsibility, often blaming customers or trades. As I spoke with the trades and staff, I began to get feedback from them regarding multiple issues they found that he was creating by doing his job poorly. By the time I realized how many issues he was creating he had already severely damaged my reputation and company. We parted ways and I began the process of making many changes.

I want to say that in all of the issues mentioned, we always fully warranted our work, did our best to fully correct any problems, and always left behind beautiful, well built, well finished projects. It bothered me very much that after working so hard to build this company, that with a few customers we didn't fully deliver on our promise of service and timing. Commenter's here included - we worked to make the projects right, and leave behind something that looked amazing.

We offer an incredible design service, a great overall value, and have completed hundreds of projects with happy customers. I don't want to take away from what was said because they were real issues that we dealt with and that I did my best to ensure will never happen again. I wanted to make the point that this is far from the full picture. We are one of the most visible renovation companies online. We've got our work on Houzz, Facebook, Vimeo, You Tube and of course our own website. You can see all over the internet examples of our work, I can provide plenty of stellar references, and many past clients invite prospective clients into their home. We deliver a high end product at an affordable price. We've also made some important changes to ensure we got back on track.

We've brought on excellent new project managers with tons of experience and staff to ensure that the people around me share my goals of delivering on all of our promises. These people have helped me put Urban Abode back on the course that I started it on for 6 years prior to facing that period of difficulty. We've got a large woodshop where we custom build all of our cabinets, and this is further helping us deliver on our promises of quality and timing. I personally visit all of our projects, check in on all of the staff, speak with customers regarding the performance of the trades and my own people, and make sure to never take on more work than we can handle.

The issues mentioned here are predominantly issues of schedules being overshot and some poor management. I don't want to diminish these - but please note they are not issues of whether or not we took money for things we did not deliver, or that the final product was of poor quality. We are honest, ethical, and fully back our product. These issues existed because of poor judgement on my part to not act sooner for the letting go of a project manager who gave plenty of excuses. It's damaged our company and my reputation, and now we are fully in the process of rebuilding it. We are here for the long haul, we are not going anywhere. We continue to work on providing the best service possible and putting these issues from this oversight on my part - far behind us. It's not the full picture of who we are - we've got so many happy customers and referrals, and these issues mentioned reflected only very few from a distinct period of time involving one manager.

If you have any questions for me regarding anything, please call me to discuss. I hope I addressed the issues that arose, and how we've taken every step possible to address them. We are a great value, offer high quality workmanship, and are continually working on what type of business we are trying to build.


We are also facing exactly the same issues that RAC has posted - no shows, lack of communication, poor quality work, lots of mistakes. We are also thinking of contacting the BBB.


Too bad I never found this site BEFORE hiring Urban Abode to develop our basement. I now know it's not just me, as the comments are EXACTLY what we have experienced with the general work and the 'site supervisor' Our basement IS one of those edited videos!!

I've been patient and understanding with them hoping the work deficiencies could be dealt with amicably, but after multiple no-shows, my patience has run out.

RAC, have you tried to file a complaint with the BBB yet?


Update: Now on week 40 and we have locked them out. The biggest issue is that these guys are not professional and just hire the cheapest subs they can get and then don’t supervise them. The site supervisor seems to have no knowledge of construction (some relative of the owner?).

The guy that they brought in to tile the bathroom had never tiled before (I think they got him at cash corner) and the job was so bad that it had to be ripped out and done again. They had to cut the backer board to get the shower pan in and patched it with plain drywall (all around the bottom of the shower where it is most critical, amateurs!).

Toilet seat just broke. On examination we could see that a special spacer was missing from one of the bolts and they just tried to use a metal washer. It was covered so no harm right! Small item but typical. Because the bathroom took so long parts were lying around everywhere and likely got lost. Instead of sending someone to the nearby Home Depot to pick up the proper part they just tried to hide it as good enough.

I had to personally clean up a mess of dry wall left piled outside and encroaching on my neighbour’s lawn which filled the bin in the driveway which was left for months and when I complained it still took them weeks to react.

They dry-walled over the shut off valve for one of my outside taps. When I pointed this out to them in Sep they said they would look after it. Repeatedly I asked about it but they were so clued out that they insisted that it was done by the plumber. It was not! Now I have to knock *** in the ceiling and install a shut-off myself.

Custom cabinets were not painted inside and were left with all kinds of pencil marks etc.

Do not be fooled by their slick web site these guys are amateurs!


Agreed with everyone below. Don't fall for the sales pitch full of edited videos of past jobs.

These guys are not professionals.

We hired Urban Abode to professionaly develop our basement. We were charged professional rates, but recieved an amateur job.


We are on week 23 of a 8 - 10 week project with no end in sight. It has been a joke.

The basement is a mess, no one ever cleans up. Sub contactors are mixed skill some good some bad.

But the problem is no one is supervising so you have to be the quality control or errors go un corrected.

Save yourself some greef and stay away from these guys

Chris Hyw

Hi Lia, Did you get everything taken care of? The reason I ask is because we are having the same problem with Urban Abode.

Lia Xjm

After being notified of this complaint the contractor has ensured me that all business will be taken care of within one week. He understood my stress regarding the situation and is taking care of it.

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