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Thread: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

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    Sunbaby's Avatar
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    Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    Saw this on Channel 2 News last night - looks like a pool builder here in Houston (name is listed in written report) started lots of pools - didn't pay any contractors and moved!

    http://www.click2houston.com/news/po...pears/34428608
    ~Wendy
    33'X17' Sports Pool (3'6"-5'-4'6") 7' flush Spa, Blue Granite PT, Waterfalls, Weeping Wall, Baja Ledge and Doggie Beach Entry! Pentair Clean and Clear 420, IntelliFlo XF Pump, SuperFlo 1.5 HP Feature Pump, MasterTemp Heater, Pal-Treo LEDs, Dolphin M4, Liquid Chlorine & TF-100 - My Build Thread

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    Sunbaby's Avatar
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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    Here is the text from the video they ran last night. You can see the video by following the link.


    CYPRESS, Texas -

    It was supposed to be a way for the Linda and Richard Comeaux' family to get together in the summer without having to leave their backyard.

    The Cypress couple adopted their great-nephew Jamon, who suffers from several disabilities as a result of being shaken as a baby.

    The 5-year-old is blind and cannot walk, but he can exercise his legs by swimming.

    In May, the family decided to put in a pool and entered into a contract with Bellar Pools.

    "This was not a luxury for us, it was a necessity," said Linda Comeaux, who took out a loan to pay for Jamon's pool.

    Two months later, all Comeaux has is a concrete-lined hole in her backyard with no plumbing or equipment to the pool, and several other components left unfinished.

    She said they paid Bellar Pools nearly $40,000 for the work that was done and for weeks she's not been able to get in touch with anyone from the company.

    Channel 2 Investigates has been contacted by several homeowners who said they paid tens of thousands of dollars to Bellar Pools only to be left with incomplete jobs. All of them are having trouble getting other contractors to finish the work.

    The Houston Better Business Bureau has received 11 complaints about the company since June detailing the same scenario.

    Woodlands homeowner Jeff Bateman paid Bellar pools $65,000 in April, but without equipment or finishing work the pool is not the backyard paradise that he'd envisioned.

    Bateman, Comeaux and others have also filed criminal complaints with the Harris County District Attorney's Consumer Fraud Division.

    "I have a pool for mosquitos and frogs," said Bateman, who is now being sent letters from subcontractors who worked on his home saying they have not been paid for work.

    Under Texas law, a subcontractor is allowed to place a lien on a homeowner's property for unpaid bills.

    "The concrete I've paid for it, but they are going to ask me for money again. I'm going to have to pay for that or they're going to put a lien on my house," said Bateman, who estimates the total bill for his pool will be more than $100,000.

    Calls and Facebook messages to Bellar pools owner Jay Bellar were unreturned, and his northwest Houston store appeared to be cleared out with computers missing from desks.

    No one answered the door at his Cypress home and neighbors said they saw moving vans in the last few weeks.

    Channel 2 Investigates contacted Bellar's son Jared on Facebook. Jared Bellar, who homeowners say was the project manager on their pools, said that his father closed the business and left town with Lisa Hileman, who was also involved in the company. Hileman lists "owner at Bellar pools" on her Facebook profile.

    Channel 2 Investigates could not get in contact with Hileman at her Tomball home, by phone or via Facebook.

    Homeowners who contacted Channel 2 said they cannot file civil suits against Bellar Pools because there is nowhere to serve the paperwork.

    The company's website had been taken down by Friday.

    In the last year, the IRS has filed several court cases against Jay Bellar for unpaid taxes.

    The Harris County District Attorney's Office said it has received eight complaints about Bellar Pools, but would not say whether it is investigating.
    ~Wendy
    33'X17' Sports Pool (3'6"-5'-4'6") 7' flush Spa, Blue Granite PT, Waterfalls, Weeping Wall, Baja Ledge and Doggie Beach Entry! Pentair Clean and Clear 420, IntelliFlo XF Pump, SuperFlo 1.5 HP Feature Pump, MasterTemp Heater, Pal-Treo LEDs, Dolphin M4, Liquid Chlorine & TF-100 - My Build Thread

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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    oh man, I hurt for these people. He'll just open up shop somewhere else and do the same thing.
    Free form pool 90'3" prim, 14180 gallons. TF100 Kit In pool table with travertine top, 3sheer descents, Depth 3.5-5-4, Jandy 2HP pump, Inline Chlorinator, Wetedge Satin Matrix Antigua.

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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    This was a huge fear of mine! My bosses pool was built 6-7 years ago - turned out beautiful - but his was the LAST one his PB finished before going out of business and leaving everyone hanging with unfinished pools. So scary!!! This fear played a HUGE part into my PB choice!

    My heart breaks for these folks - I can't imagine if I was sitting here with a frog infested gunite shell - and contractors coming to me for money that I have already paid and they didn't get. UGH!
    ~Wendy
    33'X17' Sports Pool (3'6"-5'-4'6") 7' flush Spa, Blue Granite PT, Waterfalls, Weeping Wall, Baja Ledge and Doggie Beach Entry! Pentair Clean and Clear 420, IntelliFlo XF Pump, SuperFlo 1.5 HP Feature Pump, MasterTemp Heater, Pal-Treo LEDs, Dolphin M4, Liquid Chlorine & TF-100 - My Build Thread

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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunbaby View Post
    Under Texas law, a subcontractor is allowed to place a lien on a homeowner's property for unpaid bills.
    I never understood this. If there is any law, it should be that payment must be made directly from the homeowner to the subcontractor. Homeowners should not be on the hook to pay twice....
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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by 440dodge440 View Post
    I never understood this. If there is any law, it should be that payment must be made directly from the homeowner to the subcontractor. Homeowners should not be on the hook to pay twice....
    I agree. It puts us in a bad situation and sometimes it's out of our control
    Free form pool 90'3" prim, 14180 gallons. TF100 Kit In pool table with travertine top, 3sheer descents, Depth 3.5-5-4, Jandy 2HP pump, Inline Chlorinator, Wetedge Satin Matrix Antigua.

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    Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    Happened here in Tucson with company licensee of Premier Pools (see HERE) but I believe the open pool jobs eventually got closed out and completed but only after a very long time and lots of hassles.

    This is the reason why you demand references and ask to speak to some of the subcontractors that will be used on a job. The subs will tell you straight away if the PB is a stand-up guy or someone they don't know. If the PB refuses to give references (for completed, not current jobs) or subs, then you definitely walk away.


    Matt
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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    My hubbie says if you get waivers from the contractor stating that the subs have been paid, then you aren't liable.
    Marla
    No longer living vicariously through other people's pool builds. Pool build is complete on my IG SWCG pool, approx 10,000 gallons. All Jandy equipment - VS 1.5 hp pump, 580 cartridge filter, AquaPure 1400 salt cell, AquaLink PDA system. Dolphin m500. PebbleSheen Blue Surf with shells and beads added. TF-100 w/ SpeedStir. A Houston Pool Build Inside the Loop

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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    This is just terrible. What should be an exciting time has turned into a nightmare.


    12x24 radiant metric vinyl pool (fully in-ground) - Pentair Superflow 3/4 HP pump - Pentair SD40 sand filter - Hayward aquatrol SWG - 8,600 gallons - 4ft throughout

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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    Not sure how it's done in other states, but in Arizona we have a Registry of Contractors (ROC) that acts as the licensing body for contractors in the state. You can hire non-ROC providers but the risk is on you. If the contractor is a member of the ROC then there is a Recovery Fund available to homeowners for damages. It's certainly not perfect but it helps.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    wow. just can't figure why someone would do this. And they have the IRS after them.

    hope they get caught and pay the max consequences.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    This is just horrible. Those poor people That's why it's of the utmost importance to get references, contact those references, check licenses, check the state's attorney general for complaints, check the local courts for any court cases against the PB, etc.

    We are lucky that our PB was and is a real standup guy and totally honest. I just hope he never retires.
    IG 12' x 39' - 20k Gallons - Vinyl Lined - StaRite Cristal-Flo II 26" Sand Filter - Hayward SuperPump 1 hp - Dolphin Dynamic autocleaner - Lochinvar Energyrite gas heater - Aqua Rite SWCG T-15 - TF100 Test Kit - Skimlite Duallly 9016 pole (great pole)

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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Not sure how it's done in other states, but in Arizona we have a Registry of Contractors (ROC) that acts as the licensing body for contractors in the state. You can hire non-ROC providers but the risk is on you. If the contractor is a member of the ROC then there is a Recovery Fund available to homeowners for damages. It's certainly not perfect but it helps.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    went to that link and found the unlicenced contractors, 7 had "pool" in the names

    Unlicensed Contractor Violations
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    Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by cowboycasey View Post
    went to that link and found the unlicenced contractors, 7 had "pool" in the names

    Unlicensed Contractor Violations
    Again, persons can offer services without an ROC license number but they are required by law to disclose that they are unlicensed and they are strictly limited in the scope of work they can perform. Examples would be people engaging in painting or someone doing plumbing repair work that only covers fixes to original installations but not new installations. So the typical "handyman" is not required to be ROC licensed.

    Why anyone would ever engage someone in a pool build who is not AZ-ROC license/bonded/insured is beyond me.

    Once again, not sure how other states do it but AZ is pretty strict about this stuff and all the contractors that are ROC licensed are pretty vocal to potential customers about not using unlicensed workers.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Marlahoutex View Post
    My hubbie says if you get waivers from the contractor stating that the subs have been paid, then you aren't liable.
    its called a lien release, and you should require this as part of payments to your GC. its standard in construction
    Dan
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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    Wow this is just horrible. I agree with 440dodge that, "If there is any law, it should be that payment must be made directly from the homeowner to the subcontractor."

    Paying the middleman, and relying on him to pay the subcontractors needs to be stopped because if the middleman doesn't pay them, yes when/IF caught he will go to jail, and be forced to pay restitution-(which will be like trying to get blood out of a turnip), but in the meantime, it places the homeowners in a terrible predicament, and leaves them with a huge financial burden which could cost them their homes, etc.

    IMO the contractors should not have that much control over anyone else's life because if they fail to do what they are suppose to do then the homeowners are the ones who get left holding the bag, and paying, and paying, and paying, for the contractor's dishonesty.

    I found out a long time ago to not pay the person performing the service a dime until the job is complete. I'm not sure how the contracts on pools are written, but when possible, that is a really good rule to follow, and prevents getting burned, (as often), in the process.

    My heart truly breaks for all these people. I hope they catch the contractor, and he's carrying a suitcase containing all the money they've paid him, so they can maybe get their money back soon, and get the subcontractors paid.
    24' Round x 4.5 ft deep AGP (15,200 Gallons), Vinyl Liner, Hayward Vari Flo XL Sand Filter- (model SP0714T1),
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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    When we had the concrete poured for our garage I paid the truck that brought the concrete and paid the guys who did the work for smoothing it. I was not going to take a chance of them not being paid. I also get a great price since there was no middle man. Just me making calls and snoopervising with my BIG German Shepard by my side LOL

    Kim
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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    Channel 2 ran an update last night and several pool companies contacted the station and want to help these people. The reporter said they will update the story in the coming weeks.
    25K IG gunite pool / PebbleTec plaster / 2HP Hayward 2 speed pump / Hayward 525 SQ/FT SwimClear Cartridge filter / Tiger Shark QC robot / TF-100 test kit / Stenner pump X 2 - Chlorine and Acid

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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    Yeah! I just knew Houstonians would step up and help them out!
    Marla
    No longer living vicariously through other people's pool builds. Pool build is complete on my IG SWCG pool, approx 10,000 gallons. All Jandy equipment - VS 1.5 hp pump, 580 cartridge filter, AquaPure 1400 salt cell, AquaLink PDA system. Dolphin m500. PebbleSheen Blue Surf with shells and beads added. TF-100 w/ SpeedStir. A Houston Pool Build Inside the Loop

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    Re: Houston Pool Builder on the run . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Crackerjack4u View Post
    I found out a long time ago to not pay the person performing the service a dime until the job is complete. I'm not sure how the contracts on pools are written, but when possible, that is a really good rule to follow, and prevents getting burned, (as often), in the process.
    Unfortunately no one will build you a pool if you don't want to pay until the end. Pool contractors and even large home remodeling contractors have "drafts" which you must pay at specific times during the construction phase. When they reach a milestone you make the next payment. This is how it works and it is industry standard. What I do think and wish I would have asked for with my builder is prior to making the next draft they are required to show payment for the previous phase to all subs in writing. That way you are protected before you submit more payments.

    For example they just finished the gunite section of my pool contract and just yesterday I had to pay for the deck portion. What would have been good is to get the gunite sub's release before paying the deck portion saying they were paid in full. Same when I paid the gunite payment it would have been nice to get the digging sub's release prior to paying for the gunite. (With my builder I pay for the next step right before they start it).
    Pool is done! Only took 17 months! - Natural shape in-ground pool: 37x23, 505sq ft, 96ft perimeter, 7ft deep end, 18,950 gallons, tanning ledge, blue surf pebble sheen/luminous blue blend, Belgard coping, 910 sqft paver deck/walkways, retaining walls out the yinyang. Jandy SWG, 2 LED Color lights, VS 2HP Pump, 460sqft cartridge filter, PDA RS P8 controller. My build

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