Napier South grandmother Rochelle Spence says she has probably lost her $24,000 deposit following last week's voluntary liquidation of Mercy Renovators.
She signed a contract for $48,000 to reposition her kitchen and put a bedroom in its place, with work due to begin in September. A 50 per cent deposit was required up front, which in hindsight was "far too much", but she had no qualms following a successful $20,000 bathroom renovation.
With work due to start she phoned the company after hearing rumours it was in financial trouble.
"They said everything is okay - that they have had a few problems - but that things were okay," she said.
On Friday the liquidator phoned her. "They said, as an unsecured creditor, things probably didn't look too good for me getting my money back. I'm guessing it will be the IRD, the bank and secured creditors that will come before me."
She said she knew Mercy were a member of Registered Masters Builders but was not made aware she could have paid for insurance to protect her deposit through the organisation.
The planned renovation was to be financed by an inheritance.
"Unless I get the money back I am not going to be able to do what I wanted."
Owners Steve and Paula Petrowski have not responded to requests for comment. Hawke's Bay Today were also unable to contact Liquidator Grant Thornton New Zealand for comment.
The Liquidator First Report is due today and creditors have until November 21 to make claims.
Mercy has boasted more than 20,000 house renovations over more than 20 years. It was a one-stop-shop for home renovations, from new kitchens and bathrooms to building extensions and painting.
Hawke's Bay Today's Facebook page has had a flurry of comments, some defending and some condemning the firm. Several report lost deposits, with one involving $17,000 so an elderly parent could be cared for at home.