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Thread: Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it......

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    texasdad's Avatar
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    Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it......

    Our pool was built last spring (end of May finished) and the build process when well - a few hiccups but nothing major. Last summer I recommended the pool builder to others.

    March of this year I noticed one stone on the coping the mortar let go. Over the course of a few weeks I left the PB several messages and emails about this with no response.

    After an email that was not nearly as friendly as the first several had been I finally got a response from him. He told me that he was not responsible for the coping but offered me the name of his mason so I could fix it on my dime.

    I contacted him by phone immediately after getting that email - To some up what he said 'It isn't covered because I don't want to cover it and it doesn't matter what the warranty says." (The contract very clearly says everything is covered for one year and then breaks down things that are covered for longer like shell and equipment).
    I responded to this by telling him he could cover fix it, or I could have somebody else fix it and then he could pay me back. When I made it very clear I wasn't rolling over he backed down and told me that "since I was such a good customer he would have his guy out next week........" That conversation was in early May. I have left him voicemails since but have not heard from him.

    In early June I had somebody else come out and fix the one rock. It was not big deal to fix.

    I sent a copy of the invoice to him with a letter saying he had until 7/1 to reimburse me or I'd file in small claims.

    7/1 is here, and I have not heard from him.

    The amount of money is small - but I'm ticked off at the principal of this.

    File in SC or let it go?????
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    poolmama67's Avatar
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    Re: Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it.....

    It would depend on the cost of the repair vs. the cost of filing suit in small claims court, loss of possible work time to attend court, and various other expenses. One thing you can do though is file a report with your local BBB.
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it.....

    I think I would file. Might cost you 100 to file and hire a server, but that is added to the amount you ask for.

    Hopefully you have good records of all communications.

    Might set a precedent for the future if you have other problems.



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    techguy's Avatar
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    Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it......

    Be careful what you share n this public forum. It may be held against you.
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    wetchem's Avatar
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    Re: Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it.....

    Stop.
    Stop posting in public places.
    Stop talking about this issue at all...
    Now... what were the actual damages?
    Gather all of your documentation... contracts, invoices showing cost of repair, etc...
    Make careful notes of all of the times you talked with PB... be specific, date, time, who contacted, details of the conversation.
    Print out all of the emails you sent and all of the replies... do not omit a single one if possible!
    Now, call some attorneys in your area that deal with contract law. Briefly explain what has happened and ask if they'd be willing to write a letter of grievance for you and how much the fee will be to do that and for the initial consult. May cost you between $25 to $100 depending on how much work they need to do. The better your documentation, the easier it will be for them to do this, the lower the cost.
    Make sure you call a couple of different attorneys and compare prices.
    Compare this cost against the damages you have suffered... attorney fees, court costs, lost wages are usually very difficult to recover in small claims courts - if at all... something to discuss with the attorney before starting this process.

    Now, if you do this, in the future, when someone asks about PB... be careful... make it very clear that your recommendation, good or bad, is your opinion and not a statement of fact. ( start with: IMHO .... use your feeling words... i.e. I felt that.... and always try to keep profanity out of the statement - in fact, that may be a good recommendation for any and all statements made about a person, product, or business). If you must mention this incident... stick to the facts!!!

    IMHO: Having a letter from an attorney's office show up at PB office will rattle the cages and things will happen quickly one way or another. But in anycase, this will more than likely end any good relation you have with PB.
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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it.....

    I'd file just because of his lousy attitude. "I don't want to cover it" REALLY? Ok then we will see pal.
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    Re: Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it.....

    I strongly recommend talking to a lawyer. Even a little advice from a lawyer about the correct way to approach this in your jurisdiction can save you a great deal of trouble later on.
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    texasdad's Avatar
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    Re: Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it.....

    Update: first off the money involved in this was not enough for it made sense to consult a lawyer. I paid about $200 to have the repair done that the builder was responsible for. For me this was about being right! (and stubborn). Not about money.

    After the deadline I gave him to pay passed I called him and said I wanted to make one last attempt to work it out before filing in small claims court. With shocking confidence the builder responded "go ahead and file, I'm not paying for the repair!"

    I filed that day suing in small claims for (rounded numbers here for simplicity) $200 plus court filing fee of $150.

    A week later I got a chek in the mail from the builder for $150 with a letter saying it was for the warranty work. The letter said he only included $150 because that is what his guy would have charged.

    I responded by email agreeing that with his connectios in the pool bussiess he could have gotten it done for less. I told him that is why he should have taken care of it the first time. I also reminded him that he owes court costs.

    A week later I got another check in the mail from him for $150. Now he is only $50 short. I did not respond.

    Last week the court finally scheduled a court date for Oct.

    He has agreed to send the remaining $50 he owes me to avoid court.

    My take on this- I called his bluff and he knows he had no defense. But it shocks me that we had a good relationship during the build and then this happens over something so small.

    Please excus my typos: this was written on a small ipad keyboard with fat fingers.
    13k gallon IG gunite pool
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it.....

    I'd just let it drop. $50 isn't worth the aggravation or time to go to court.
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    Re: Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it.....

    Texas is a debtor state. All you can collect in court is a piece of useless paper.

    Be glad you got anything out of him.
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    Re: Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it.....

    Quote Originally Posted by bigdav160
    Texas is a debtor state. All you can collect in court is a piece of useless paper.

    Be glad you got anything out of him.
    Like I said - this isn't about the Money. It is about being right - ****** me off like I can't even say when he told me it didn't matter what the contract said; he wasn't fixing it.

    He's told me the last $50 is on the way in the mail - I believe that.

    Also, in Texas you can't garnish a paycheck, put you can put a lien on property with that 'useless' paper. The unsatisfied Judgment is not lain, but it does prevent the transfer of any real property (real estate) in or out of his name in the county the Judgment was issued in. He would not be able to sell his home or building he does business out of without paying me. The Judgement would grow by 10% a year until then....... Again, we are talking about $50, but...
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    Re: Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it.....

    I'm glad you stood your ground. I hope your PB thinks twice before refusing to hold up his end of his contract!!
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    Re: Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it.....

    He would not be able to sell his home or building he does business out of without paying me.
    I'm not a lawyer but I don't think that is correct, at least not for a "homestead" (primary residence).
    Pool is DONE!
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    texasdad's Avatar
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    Re: Small Claims Court with pool builder - or forget it.....

    Quote Originally Posted by bigdav160
    He would not be able to sell his home or building he does business out of without paying me.
    I'm not a lawyer but I don't think that is correct, at least not for a "homestead" (primary residence).

    http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/ ... 46859.html



    http://texasjudgmentcollection.com/texa ... liens.html



    I own rental property and have collected on previous tenants many years later this way. You must be very patient, but will collect when they sell this way. Interest is up to the judge, but 10% is common.
    13k gallon IG gunite pool
    Jandy 2 speed pump
    Jandy cartridge filter
    Stenner Pump and tank

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