Troubleshooter: Pool Problems

October 16, 2008 9:00:00 PM PDT
A new pool left a Durham family out thousands of dollars. Frank Hart hired Eastern Border Group, LLC to do his pool deck, sidewalks, patio and landscaping. A job he paid in full more than $16,000. Frank tells Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "As soon as the pool deck was poured he came in and said we have a problem. He said I'm going to have to do an overlayment and that would fix it. I didn't know so I said OK." But things didn't go OK. Frank adds, "Pretty much everything has to be redone."

Frank says the problems started right away when crews added a lot of water to the concrete while spreading it out. The concrete's different colors in places and not a smooth textured look. Even worse, the pool deck slopes into the pool and some of the concrete got in the pool. Frank says, "I had to pay the pool company to come out and clean the pool, because they pushed all the concrete into the pool. It was red and they had to scrub it and get it out and they destroyed the new filter. I had to get a new one of those because it was full of concrete."

The company that supplied the concrete to Eastern Border Group stated in an e-mail to Frank the problems have to do with excessive water on the job, which was more than 50 gallons, plus excessive time on the job. Frank says, "For the amount of concrete he had for the truck to be here and be gone in an hour and a half and instead he sat in my yard of three hours." Another concrete company came out to see what it would take to fix the job. They claim the entire pool deck, walkway and patio needs to be torn up and redone, to the tune of more than $14,000. Frank adds, "We didn't even want any money from him we just wanted him to pay other company to re-do it so we could use the pool and move."

Troubleshooter Diane Wilson got in touch with the owner of Eastern Border Group, Tim Mills. He admits he messed up the concrete by adding too much water to the mix. He says he had a bad day. He agrees the concrete needs to come up and he's willing to make it right, but he wants to do the job. A plan Frank's not comfortable with. He says, "We can't trust him to tear it up because he's been so evasive. He won't call, miss appointments, he's very argumentative. We're thousands of dollars in and it's like no way to really get out with what we're stuck with."

Frank has filed a lawsuit against Eastern Border Group. Mills did say to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, he would do whatever the courts ruled. After she got in touch with Mills, he sent Frank an e-mail stating he was turning this into his insurance company.

Even more bad news, Frank overpaid Eastern Border group $1,800. Mills put in writing he would pay that back by October 15th, but so far no sign of that money.

Whenever you hire a contractor, check their references, check out their business. Also never pay in full until you're completely satisfied with the job!


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