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Buying A Pool 'Nightmare'


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I placed an order for a pool in August 07 with a franchisee of a big national company. Paid the deposit then the pool parts were delivered in December 07. The terms of the contract required that I pay for the pool on delivery; the majority of the cost. Nothing then happened for weeks. I eventually heard for the company and arranged for the hole to be dug for the pool. A few more weeks went by then the bottom and sides of the pool were construted. That was back in March. Since then nothing has progressed. I had a argument with the company because they siad that the delay was caused by me not having backfilled the pool with stone which apparently was my responsibility, but when I arranged for the company to visit the site they said they were not ready for stones to be backfilled because some pipe work and electrical installations were necessary. The long and the short of it is that I have paid large sums of money but because of the way the contract is written  now have very little control or leverage to get the company to complete the work. Has anyone had similar experience?  I  have noticed with other supply and installation companies, like fitted kitchens, that the majority of payment is due on delivery rather than installation and completion. What is the solution?

Charles 1

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Sounds horific

It does not seem that you can do a lot apart from getting legal advise, a letter from a Huissiers de justice  does seem to speed things up, it must be a Huissier in the same area as the work has been done.

In my experience most pool companies  take a small deposit around 10%, then 6 weeks before around 30% ( normally on delivery),  50% on starting, leaving 10% on completion

This seems to work for our clients, if not we talk about it and come to a solution which is good for both.

Good luck

chrish

 

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Do you have legal cover on your household insurance? If so contact them, they may well be able to help. It would appear that there are companies here that will just hope that if they do nothing the problem will go away and do not expect to get a legal kick in the backside!! It may well be worth chasing?
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This post is a good warning to people thinking of installing a pool, after all you are investing a lot of money on something you may not know much about.Speak to other pool owners and pick a company that has been long established in your area, ask the company if you can visit someone that they have recently installed a pool for.Makesure you have a clear contract and shedule of works and timescale.There can always be hitches with weather.My pool was scheduled for a certain amount of time and it was spot on.The information on this site is invaluable and I would not hesitate in reccomending the company I used ,who has posted in this thread.My only regret is that I did not look into security covers  more , as mine is difficult to handle for one person and as I am in France on my own for much of the time, I really struggle with it,but I like the fact the pool is nice and secure.
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Charles

Your troubles started when you choose the large company, that is sure. They do not care - and you cannot hurt them.

There is no one person who will take responsibity for your project unlike a smaller 'owner operator' firm.

There are a number of alarming aspects to your case that will have implications into the future even when your project is complete - such as the backfilling issue. You will be reponsible therefore for any settlement or exterior damage.

Making the best out of the situation will require some tough face down tacktics I hope that you are up for that.

If they are not communicating with you then you must try to arrange an meeting with the Franchiser, listen to what he has to say which will probably be a lot but nothing that you should have to care about I suspect.

We all have our problems installing pools (its not easy- especially this year) but there are only a few compaies where accountability is also part of the package but you'll never see that in the glossy brochures. Other Postgers have suggested the legal route but remeber at that stage you are already starting to loose more.

Good luck anyway

Andrew

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would avoid the legal route if you want to see your pool this side of 2010 or unless you are absolutely desperate.   As soon as you get involved in legal disputes everything shuts down and all communcation stops save through lawyers.   No-one else will touch the installation as well for fear of being dragged into legal disputes.   The court process is known to be slow and most French contractors don't care as their insurance assessors get involved as well to determine who pays.

Andrew makes the most sensible suggestion and that is to talk to the franchiser as the franchisee represents the franchiser and the brand as well as themselves.

I agree also that you should stick to local operators who will also know ground issues etc.   We, for example, only install in the Languedoc.   We also ask for 50% to order but the remainder only when the pool is swimmable, so although the initial deposit is large, it enables us to get everything in line for a successful conclusion and there is a huge amount of accountability on our shoulders because if you can't dive in happily when it is finished, we are going to lose money.

There is also a lesson here in making sure you understand what you are agreeing to and what you get for your money.   I have lost count of the number of times I have been under cut on a quote only for the lost customer to find that they have add on costs afterwards that wasn't in my competitors price but was in ours - and their final bill is more than mine would have been.

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