Take the Money and Run
(Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, Canada)
Qualicum Beach, B.C.
January 12, 2010
In late July, 2009 my wife and I contracted verbally with Darren Grafton of Anderson Water Wells, Courtenay, B.C., to drill a water well for us at our address here in Qualicum Beach. Prior to commencing drilling, Darren asked me for a check for $3,500 (approximately half of what he estimated the final cost to be). I gave him the amount requested and after about a week of drilling, he declared that the site selected by him was a dry hole.
Before he had started drilling, I had requested that he wait until I could get a reputable water dowser to help with a site selection. Darren dismissed this disdainfully and unequivocally, stating that he was a professional with a 95+ percentage rate of successfully getting an adequate water supply. He himself walked over our property and selected a spot that he said had a high probability of hitting a good water flow at an estimated 70-100 foot depth.
After a week of drilling, at a depth of 120 feet, Darren pronounced his efforts to be a dry hole. He again walked our property and wanted me to agree to him drilling a new hole close to the property line between us and our neighbor to the east where they have their own well within a few feet of where Darren was proposing to drill. I refused to let him drill there, as I was of the opinion that he was hoping to hit the same water flow as our neighbors. I asked him if this would not adversely affect their present supply and he agreed that it likely would diminish their supply if we were pumping from the same source. This was an unacceptable solution for me. It seemed unethical and un-neighborly to say the least, but Darren kept insisting that "one has to do whatever it takes to get water."
At this point, I called both Ken Fyfe and Colleen Roberts, both noted dowsers and requested that they dowse our property to see if they could pinpoint a good subterranean water flow. Both of them independently did walk over our property, with me observing them as they dowsed. Both of them zeroed in on precisely the same spot as a good water flow.
Darren told my wife and I that he would re-drill for us at no cost to us in that spot, but that he had to go to another job for about 10 days, promising to return and drill within two weeks at the latest. That was the last I have seen of him. He has never answered numerous attempts to phone him, to email him, nor has he responded to letters mailed to him asking for some resolution.
Before he went away with his drill rig, he pulled out all the casing from the dry well and took it with him. According to him, drilling costs are about $20 per foot and another $20 per foot for the casing. Since he took out the casing, at the most, even if he charged full drilling rate for the 120 feet of dry hole, he had only fair claim to $2,400 from the check that I had given him. However, he has never returned to drill, has never communicated or responded to my attempts to reach him, nor has he offered to settle up with me financially and refund back the difference ($1,100).
This entire affair has left my wife and I with a very bad impression of Mr. Grafton and the manner in which he conducts business. We have initiated an action for redress in Small Claims Court. I have received information today that now Grafton's drill rig has been seized, leaving me with the belief that there is a great likelihood that even if I succeed in gaining a judgment against him, there will be little chance of ever seeing a dollar back from him. After the poor manner of being treated by him, I would most certainly refuse to have him come back for any reason, nor would I recommend his services (if he should still be in business) to anybody.