WESTFORD, Mass. – A Westford souvenir business is facing false promises and scams as customers demand refunds.
Small claims court documents and police reports show a pattern Garside’s monuments didn’t follow with billed goods and services.
Boston 25 News has learned that 13 police reports have been filed against Garside Monuments, owned by John Thomas Smith.
There are also six outstanding police reports, which will be 19 in total.
“We paid him up front with the full expectation that he would do the right thing,” said customer David Blackstone. “He lies and makes up stories to delay and delay.”
David Blackstone and his wife said in September they paid in full for a monument carved out for future purposes.
The couple told Boston 25 News that they still haven’t received their payments in more than nine months.
“He always says he’s going to do the right thing and then he doesn’t,” Blackstone explained.
Blackstones reported to small claims court that Smith owes $2,762.50 plus $100 in court costs.
“They’re just going to say yes, he owes the money, but there’s no way the court is going to go and collect it,” Blackstone said. “There’s no choice, and that’s frustration.”
Police reports obtained by Boston 25 News show similar amounts of money being paid, often in the thousands, following a bewildering array of clients.
Client Heidi Targ asked, “How can someone do this when they have such a loss?” he asked.
Heidi Targ told Boston 25 News on March 9 that she is waiting for Garside Monuments to refund the $525 she paid for the recording.
The payment was made following the death of her 37-year-old brother from a suspected fentanyl overdose.
“He made it look like it was going to be done in two weeks, and it’s still not done,” she said. “I feel like I’m back in the days when I mourned my brother.”
Targ said she made an appointment to get a refund from Smith and he never followed through.
“I met him, and he forgot we even talked. He didn’t have the money,” she added.
In addition to small court claims and police reports, there are two current complaints in the state’s consumer complaint database.
Boston 25 News has given Smith multiple opportunities to respond to the allegations, but he has yet to comment.
Smith took over the helm of the business following the death of his grandfather, Al Garside, in 2015.
Garside was an Army veteran and helped install Westford’s fallen firefighters and 9/11 memorials.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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