Contact 2 : Swimming Pool Repair Bills

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A woman from High Ridge, Mo. is swimming in debt. She says her pool contractor left her with thousands of dollars in repair bills. Her pool plans almost sank. The new pool was supposed to be ready for a summer birthday party. Carol Righi hired the contractor in April. He told her it would be done in two weeks. Five months later it’s incomplete. 'He kept making mistakes as the project was going on. I kept giving him a chance to fix the mistakes'.

She has photos showing how the weight of the concrete broke the water line; that allowed water from the pool to run into the yard. 'When I got back from vacation in early July the project was still going on. I got back and my backyard was a swamp. And the pool water was muddy because he had poured the patio, angling toward the pool instead of away and piled up dirt high behind the patio. So when it rained it washed all of the mud into the pool.'

The concrete patio cracked in a couple places. Carol says the weaker part of the concrete patio was maybe an inch thick when it should be four or five inches thick. On top of that the single mother paid him $30,000 before he finished. She expects it will cost her another $30,000 to make it right. 'My family was able to help me get it to the point where it wasn't getting any worse. I was pretty much able to stop the bleeding on the pool. But at this point I have to wait until I can make enough money. '

The second contractor hired to fix the problems told her one of those mistakes could have been fatal. She was told the first contractor never grounded the electrical light which could have caused death.

Ridings, told CONTACT 2 he could not comment on the advice of his attorney. Carol tried to get her money back through the courts. But she hit another roadblock. 'We found out that he has since declared bankruptcy. And my attorney says the chances are really slim of getting any money back from someone who`s declared bankruptcy. '

Carol says she was friends with the contractor and his wife. He had done smaller projects for her and she liked the pool he installed at his own home. 'He has worked with me before. I had no reason not to trust him.'

If a pool is in your plans, be sure to hire trained professionals. Check with the BBB for accredited contractors, find out if the business is currently registered with the Secretary of State, check with the Attorney General's office for complaints against the company, check the Federal Court for bankruptcy filings, pay in at least three installments and never assume friendship will protect you.

If you have a consumer issue contact our call for action volunteers. The number is 1-800-782-2222. They take calls Monday through Thursday from 11am till 1pm.

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