Laura Ragno holds herself out as a professional designer. Her store is quite impressive. She is reassuring, accessible and charming UNTIL she obtains a hefty deposit. Then phone calls go unanswered. Workers, if they do show up do substandard work. She has defrauded many many people in the Toronto and Oakville area. I was one of them.
I asked her to renovate and redesign a room in my home and gave her a strict budget which I could not exceed. She indicated that the budget I gave her was entirely workable and took me through pages and books of custom design merchandise. When I picked out what I wanted she asked for 1/2 upfront deposit which I provided. I was to have my goods in 30 days. 30 days turned into almost a year until I finally gave up. The product she did deliver was not what we had discussed and was of a cheap and shoddy nature. When I complained she blamed the suppliers for screwing up. She told me that she had been ripped off by them and needed the other money to get everything by the next week. Because I was already out thousands of dollars I stupidly provided her with more money - though not the entire contract.
After she cashed my cheque, she disappeared from canada for months. Her phone voicemailbox was always full (of other disgruntled customers) and when I could reach her directly she would inevitably tell me she would get back to me shortly. She was living it up and apprarently starting a business in Florida as well. When she returned here I demanded my money back or my goods delivered immediately. She told me lies about having cancer and going for chemo etc... Then she had the nerve to ask me for more money to complete my order. I refused.
She stated that because of her illness she couldn't give me my money back. She almost had me believing her and feeling sorry for her until I met up with other customers out many more thousands than me. She told them she had other types of illnesses or cancer (eg was hospitalized for a spider bite; had melanoma, had breast cancer). In fact she was in Florida.
When I confronted her husband, who ownes the building out of which she operates, he told me that he has heard it all before and that there is nothing he can do as his wife is mentally ill.
I understand she is now planning on changing her business name and going into kitchen renovation full time.