UPSET: Cheryll Bateup and granddaughter, Havanah.
UPSET: Cheryll Bateup and granddaughter, Havanah. Contributed

LEFT IN THE LURCH: Furniture maker fails to deliver

TWO women who live their lives choosing to see the best in people have learned a hard lesson after losing hundreds of dollars online to the same self-professed furniture maker.

It's been four long months of back-and-forth messaging, excuses and frustration for Susan Roberts.

The 49-year-old has been given the runaround since September, when she paid local carpenter Marc Kimber $100 for a bench that was meant to take a week to build.

"At first he just told me it'd been raining so he hadn't had a chance to do it. Next it was that he was moving," Mrs Roberts told the NewsMail.

These somewhat plausible excuses continued for several weeks, across more than 15 emails and messages.

"Then it got to Christmas time, and I just realised it wasn't going to happen. 'You're full of it'," she said.

Despite receiving numerous messages claiming the bench was ready for pick-up, Mrs Roberts said a new excuse always ended up coming.

The last interaction she had with the carpenter was on December 15, when she asked if her bench was ready, to which she received no reply.

"I've given up replying to him at all now," she said.

The mother of two said while she realised she may seem naive to some people, she'd always been a person who saw the good in people.

"Thinking about it, I'd rather be a trusting person and give people the benefit of doubt than spend life looking over my shoulder, doubting people," Mrs Roberts said.

"I just don't want to be that person. I didn't even think this happening was a possibility because it's not something I would do to someone. My brain doesn't work that way."

But the Innes Park resident has now had enough and recently began pursuing Paypal for a refund.

She admitted she didn't "even care about the money".

"If I don't get it back, well that was my silly. But I just don't want him to get others' free money that he doesn't deserve," Mrs Roberts said.

"I'm a big believer in karma ... he probably thinks he's safe, because it's taking so long with Paypal, but he's going to get himself into s--t.

"I'd really like to see that he can't use Paypal again to sucker some other poor bastard. I'd be happy with that."

Angry customers

Mrs Roberts is among several people who fear they won't see their money again.

Local Terri Taylor said she'd lost $400 after paying a deposit for a polished concrete table.

"He's paid me $100 now, but only because I've hounded him," she said.

Taking action

Like the other two, Cheryll Bateup was given the runaround for months until she finally got a glimpse of what she'd paid for.

The mum said she'd paid a $300 deposit for two barn doors in October, with the hope the end-products would be made of a distressed looking wood with white borders.

"He said it would take him three weeks, but as time went by he kept giving me excuses why they weren't ready yet," Mrs Bateup said.

The 57-year-old said her messages were blocked by Mr Kimber late last year, at which point she went to his home and threatened to call the police.

"After all this time mucking me about, this guy just blocked me! I was pretty hot under the collar," Mrs Bateup said.

She told the NewsMail when she first saw some of the pictures Mr Kimber posted of his previous jobs online, she couldn't have given him higher praise.

"I had so much stuff I wanted him to make for me, but now I actually think what he posts isn't what he's made in the past," Mrs Bateup said.

When Mr Kimber arrived at her house with the doors she'd ordered some three months later, Mrs Bateup was aghast.

"They're not the barn doors, they can't be," she thought as he drove up.

She said rather than using real paint, the doors had been covered with fencing stain, turning the pallet wood that had been used orange.

"They were the most disgusting things I'd seen in my life, I was horrified. They were nothing like what I'd asked for. I was after something recycled, something with character," Mrs Bateup said.

Next steps

After refusing to accept the doors, the Bundaberg mother asked for her deposit back.

But, as she expected, it wasn't that simple.

"He didn't have the money, which I'd assumed, so we agreed on him paying me $100 every fortnight. But when that first due date rolled around, I asked him when I could get the money, and he answered 'When I get it'," Mrs Bateup said of the exchange.

Sick and tired of the excuses, she texted Mr Kimber, telling him she was going to the police, to which he responded immediately.

"After all that, I've received $50, but if I'm being honest, it's $50 bucks I didn't think I'd ever get back," Mrs Bateup said.

The disability support worker said while she hoped she'd receive the next payment in two weeks' time, her expectations were low.

"If he doesn't pay, I don't think I'm going to muck around with him anymore, I'm just going to go to the police," Mrs Bateup said.

"I'm a trusting person, someone who takes people's word. But I think I've learnt my lesson. I won't do this again."

In a comment to the NewsMail, Mr Kimber said the money he owed customers was being returned.

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