“We paid you in good faith” Pool contractor not holding their end of the bargain

“You spend a lot of money and a lot of time designing a pool and you want to enjoy it but now when people come over for safety reasons, I worry about children coming here that they’re gonna slip, trip, and get hurt.”
KBTX News 3 at Ten(Recurring)
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 10:48 PM CST
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) -A College Station family says a local pool contractor is not holding their end of the bargain when it comes to honoring a warranty for their pool and hot tub. The Flores family reached out to KBTX after having their issues ignored by both the pool contractor and the warranty company.

The homeowners say substandard concrete work and mechanical issues have been a constant challenge since having the pool installed in 2020.

“We have a lot of decking issues. The travertine pavers, they’ve been repaired two times. What happens is the grout lines wash away in the rain, which causes the tiles to become loose and so they separate and some have cracked,” said Tony Flores. “Some have dislodged where you can’t walk over them.”

Communicating with the company has been a real struggle for the family.

“Just to get them to communicate is an issue. You’d reach out to them. Sometimes they respond, and sometimes they don’t. That could be by text, or by phone call. My wife’s been to their office at least once,” Tony said. “They did meet with her at that time, but they’ve sent repair crews out twice to fix their work.”

“The original crew that installed the decking, either got fired or quit because they didn’t finish the job that they started, which could be where this problem started,” said Tony. "

Tony says the issue with the pavers has become a safety concern and an eyesore.

“This is a pretty good size pool and it fits our backyard the way we like it. In my opinion, the decking is kind of the stamp of the pool and when they first put it down, this thing looked wonderful. It was beautiful, nice, and clean. Everything was good,” said Tony. " Then it started falling apart, so it becomes an eyesore.”

“You spend a lot of money and a lot of time designing a pool and you want to enjoy it but now when people come over for safety reasons, I worry about children coming here that they’re gonna slip, trip, and get hurt,” said Tony.

KBTX reached out to the pool company for comment and was told they would send us a statement concerning the family issues but we did not hear back.

In an email shared with KBTX by the Flores family the company said they’re not responsible for the issues with the pool and decking and blame the drought for the issues. Issues that the Flores family say were happening long before the drought.

In text messages exchanged on August 9 between the Flores family, representatives from the pool company acknowledge that they are aware of the issue.

“Have you contacted anyone to come out about the decking? If it would be easier I can have it fixed and bill {the company}. Just want to wrap up with these warranty items. With the equipment too. Our decking has never looked right and it has been repaired two times,” the text message said.

According to the text representatives with the pool company said “I am working on the decking.”

On November 7 the Flores family again reached out to the pool company.

“No one has come out to fix our warranty issues and now our hot tub will not work at all,” Tony said. “Please follow through with correcting our warranty items. We would like to use our hot tub.”

The Flores family said the company never responded to their last message.

A text message from the company in October of 2021 also acknowledges that the issue with the pool was going to be fixed.

“Yes sir I’m working on finding a paver crew to fix the issue, but everyone I’ve spoken with is several weeks/months and a half or so out. The crew is like to use can’t get to us until the end of the month,” the text message said. “I can make a few calls today to see if I can find anyone else. I know that my gut is reliable and does a good job. I’ve used him on stuff like this in the past.”

The Flores family says their goal is not to harm the pool company but they would like to be able to enjoy the pool they purchased.

“Just own up to your company. I mean, we paid you in good faith to do a good job for us and you have not followed through with that,” said Tony.

KBTX took the Flores family’s concerns to the Better Business Bureau and legal experts who suggest consulting with an attorney and doing a throughout check of any contracts or paperwork being signed

“Get everything in writing. You want the entire scope of the job. You want to know their estimated start and finish dates,” said Katie Galen, regional director for the BBB. “You want to know the entire cost breakdown, labor materials, are they gonna be hauling away trash? All of that really needs to be laid out in there. And of course, all of your warranty information needs to be in there as well.”

Galen says you also want to be aware of any vague language in contracts that could alleviate responsibility from a company.

“A lot of times when we see this kind of vague language they do that so they can open it up in case of any problems arise that vague language they do that to kind of help cover themselves,” said Galen.

Attorneys say when taking on a project of this size and nature working with a lawyer is the best thing homeowners can do to protect themselves.

“There are lots of skilled lawyers here in town that are certainly qualified to review a contract and provide advice as to what the terms are and what the duties are under the contract and if there’s any ambiguity that needs to be addressed,” said Terrance Dill, a partner at West Web Albritton & Gentry.

Dill says when it comes to vague language and challenging contracts in court, the burden is on the person who drafted the contract to make sure the language is clear and concise.

“In Texas, the law is that a contract is interpreted in favor of the non-drafter. So in this case, if the pool company drafted the contract and there’s some language in the contract that’s ambiguous, then a court would interpret the contract in favor of the customer and not the pool contractor who drafted or had the contract drafted for them,” said Dill.

Dill identified one area of concern in the agreement where the language is vague.

“There’s a warranty on page one, and then on the subsequent page there’s a disclaimer of responsibility and so, what you’re covered by the warranty, but then you’ve disclaimed it,” said Dill. " And so that might be something that a court would have to interpret the contract. Therefore, the best advice is before you enter into a contract like this, I would consult with a qualified and knowledgeable attorney to help navigate you, the consumer through this process.”

The BBB offers 12 tips for hiring a pool contractor.

Editor’s note: The pool company was not identified because this is the only documented case of a complaint we could find in public records with this specific company.