A middle aged couple came into our office with a very peculiar request. They had contracted a pool company to install a fiberglass pool in their backyard. It had been a dream of theirs to have their kids and grandkids could come over and enjoy day long activities with them.
It was in early November they had contracted to have the pool installed. They told us the contractor at that time was very nice, was very active and communicative to them. Our Client said his wife had talked to the contractor and told him of their water problems in the basement, to which he replied he could help with that, they would install the pool and have a retaining wall towards the back of it and create a different flow of water drainage, as their house set lower than the houses to one side of them and the two houses to the rear.
The contractor said all the right things to them, what didn’t happen was, he never put anything that he was going to do in writing. This was their first mistake of many with him. Contractor told them they would need to pay a deposit, a partial payment when the pool was delivered and a partial payment when the pool was in the ground. He also told them he could have the pool basically finished in a very short time. Plans were drawn up, after the contact was signed, of course and the decking was not what our Clients wanted. The contractor told them he would have to pay $100 to have them redone, but it wasn’t a problem.
The pool was delivered less than a week later and left in the front yard overnight, causing much concern with their neighbors. In fact, the contractor had informed them he had paid a woman with their HOA a $100 to pass the approval within a week. He told our Clients he had left a $100 bill on their front porch that she was going to pick up that evening. This was a little unsettling to our clients because it had taken them almost 6 weeks to get approval to paint the house.
Well, needless to say the pool was put in and the water problems grew even worse. The deck drawings were presented to them and again, our clients felt like the decking design was not beneficial to what they had wanted or expected. Again, the contractor told them it would cost another $100 to redo the design.
Communication became less and less and nothing more was done to the pool. The contractor had two large pieces of equipment in the backyard and was given until February 11th to remove per the HOA. The contractor stated he had issues with his mobile home in Texas, he had surgery, he was dealing with visitation with his son, who also lived in Texas and that he was attending meetings all over the US and didn’t have time to answer calls or text messages. On February 12th, the equipment was moved, with the Contractor complaining on the cost of repairs because his equipment didn’t like the cold winter here in Indiana. He also complained how awful the weather was, when it was the mildest in many years. The contractor also lived in Indiana and had lived here for over 7 years, therefore he was fully aware of the weather.
In March there was a blow up as the contractor had set an appointment to meet and then didn’t show, didn’t call nor make any effort to let our Clients know he was rescheduling. Had our Clients not called him, one of them would have stayed home from work to meet with him on that day. It was at this time our Clients had had enough and called the Corporate office, only to speak to some other sales person who immediately called the Contractor and told him our Clients were complaining about him. The contractor contacted our Clients and was very rude and said he had told Corporate he wasn’t working because of bad weather and that our Client’s hadn’t paid him. When in fact, he had agreed to get paid once the funds were pulled from their retirement account. They explained to us how awful they were being treated, how the Contractor constantly lied and made excuses.
In April, the Contractor installed the equipment, but it wasn’t running, then he hotwired it to their breaker box and this is when they came to us.
It isn’t for us to question why an individual wouldn’t perform due diligence on any company or contractor prior to hiring them. And when we asked, they stated he was a smooth talker. Smooth talkers doesn’t produce much results, other than trying to talk their way out of a bad situation. We suggested International Investigators immediately conduct a background check not only on the contractor, but on the company as well. Since the company apparently had sales reps for each region, the background check would consists of several individuals to determine if there had been any negative information, civil litigations, complaints with the BBB and the Attorney General’s office in each state they installed pools. Since there is no 100% positive national background checks services, each representative would have to be determined and each county of their region would have to be searched, along with the corporate office, which the Texas Secretary of State listed multiple locations.
A criminal background check was also suggested on the contractor.
When all was said and done, we found that their contractor had four (4) active civil litigations against him and his company and the company he formed in the state of Indiana. We also found that there were multiple complaints made against him and named him and his company in those complaints. He had obviously lied to many customers in the past and currently as the most recent derogatory posting was January of 2016.
At this point, we haven’t heard what transpired with this situation, but we do know that these Clients will never hire another contractor without conducting any type of background check or social media search again.
-T. Wilcox, CEO International Investigators, All In Investigations, Inc.
-B. McGinley, Director of Operations, International Investigators, All In Investigations, Inc.