CLINTON, North Carolina - Installing an in-ground pool is a big investment. Several homeowners thought they hired the right man to do the job, only to learn he's not even licensed to do the work.
They said they've been left with empty promises and headache after headache.
$39,000 POOL JOB UNFINISHED
"A nightmare. He hasn't really done anything right yet," said Charlie Tackett, a Clinton homeowner.
Tackett didn't mince words when it comes to the pool contractor he hired.
"He'll show up like two hours a week, never a full day," Tackett said. "It's just promise after promise after promise and nothing."
The Tacketts said they've wanted a pool all of their lives. They worked hard and finally had enough money to buy one.
"THEY SEND THIS GUY?"
Charlie Tackett said he went online to SanJuanPools.com and filled out a request for a swimming pool.
They send someone to contact you, and this was the guy they sent to us?" Tackett said.
"The guy" being Seth Braddy with Seth's Landscaping, LLC in Hope Mills.
The Tacketts signed a contract with Braddy in September of 2016 for $39,000 to put in a fiberglass in-ground pool in their backyard.
Charlie Tackett said work slowly progressed. It took months, but the pool was finally in, and Charlie said he was hopeful.
But then, he noticed a big crack in the deep end, and the bottom of the pool was squishy. Plus he said when they filled the pool, it leaked.
Tackett said he was promised by Braddy it would be fixed, but by June when it wasn't repaired, he got in touch with me.
He said, "Just finish it. Get out of our lives, don't ever come back."
POOL CONTRACTOR RESPONDS
I got in touch with Braddy in June, and then he admitted to the problems, but said he would have the job done by July 4. While Braddy did take the pool out of the ground and re-set it, along with fixing the leaks, the Fourth of July came and went - and the job still wasn't done.
I also got in touch with San Juan Pools. A representative with San Juan Pools said they only manufacture the pools and distribute them through independent dealers, such as Braddy.
The rep said independent dealers sell and contract with homeowners who want a pool; the contract is not with San Juan.
He added that it's clearly stated on its website that San Juan is not responsible for the work of its independent dealers. He said they do monitor the independent dealers' work, and they have had a few complaints with Braddy but said he has corrected the problems along the way.
I talked and texted for several weeks and months with Braddy about the Tackett's pool.
He would continue to give dates he would have the work done, but often he would not show up and get the work done. It took much longer than Braddy ever said it would, but he eventually got the concrete around the pool and the majority of the work on the Tacketts' pool done.
"Thank you very much, Diane," said Charlie Tackett. "I appreciate you keeping the heat on him; we couldn't have done it without you."
There are still a few minor items to finish on the Tacketts' job, which Braddy claims he will get done.
Because of all of the problems, Braddy did knock $6,000 off the Tacketts' contract.
STATE TAKES ACTION
While investigating Braddy, I learned the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors is also investigating him.
Braddy is not licensed to do any work over $30,000, and not only is the Tackett's job more than $30,000, but he also did other jobs contracted for more than $30,000 despite not being licensed.
In this consent order, Braddy is no longer allowed to take on jobs that he is not licensed to do.
Braddy told me he was not aware he had to be licensed. He said he has taken the course to obtain a license but has not taken the test yet. He claims he is not taking on any further jobs that are more than the state allows.
MORE UPSET CLIENTS
Recently, even more, homeowners have come forward with complaints against Braddy.
In April, Jen Whaley signed a contract for $33,500 with Seth's Landscaping, LLC, which was also known as Aqua Pool Design.
Whaley said she has paid Braddy $25,000 so far and is left with a mess. She said one of the walls is bowed because of poor bracing and concrete support and the bottom is cracked.
Another big problem: A Stop Work Notice was placed on the job, because the proper permits were not filed with the county. Braddy did clear up the Stop Work Notice and said at this point he wants to work out a deal with Whaley to return some money back to her so she can hire someone else to finish the job.
RESEARCH WHO YOU HIRE
The best advice is always to research and check the references of the company you are hiring. If any job is more than $30,000, the contractor needs to be licensed.
You can do a quick check with the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. You can also check out any company with the Better Business Bureau or the NC Attorney Generals Office. It's also wise to check the contractor's references and actually go see work they have completed.