So here's my story: We bought a house in january a few years back and it came with a pool. We didn't even see it because the mesh cover was covered in snow at the time. But we though, oh a pool will be cool.
My wife had a pool in the past but I never had. When it came time to open we called a local pool store for service.
They pulled the cover off and it looked like a tar pit. The guy shocked and cleaned and in a week we were able to swim.
We continued to use the service for the next 2 years. They did everything including testing the water and weekly cleaning at $95 a pop.
One day I was home when the "tech" came out and decided I was going to ask him some questions.
That is when I caught him testing the water at the skimmer. He didn't even open the cover.
I asked him how he was scrubbing the sides of the pool without opening it and he said "you have a polaris, you don't need to have it cleaned".
So why are you charging me to clean and how accurate can the test results be from the skimmer?
He said "dude, checking the pool once a week is futile anyway. your chemistry is all over the place".
So I started reading troublefreepool.com and although I let them come out a few more times until I got my sea legs I eventually told them I would be caring for the pool myself. (but not until they charged me $550 to replace the malfunctioning aqualumen light-which they never replaced but "repaired")
So then I found another local pool service to do the opening and closing. I was still scared to ruin the underground pvc.
They opened and I took care of everything until they closed. All was fine until I went out after the last closing and the left everything apart and threw my cartridges in a bush. When I called them they said that the cartridges needed to be replaced and other lame excuses.
Still being scared to open the pool myself I let them do it and they said I needed to have new rail cups put in because the aluminum cups had bent form the concrete expanding and they couldn't get the rails in. It would be $575 to have 8 new cups installed.
They told me to leave the pool open so they wouldn't ruin the auto cover. When I got home the pool was full of concrete chips and there was concrete all over the deck. The concrete stained the liner and I had to scrub it off the fence and deck surrounding the pool.
The cups all had concrete hardened in them and I still couldn't get the rails in properly. The cut lines in the concrete look terrible and I am afraid it will start cracking with freezing and thawing.
the guy said he would come back out and caulk the concrete and clean up his mess.
The only call I got from him was to ask me if I wanted him to order a new motor for the auto cover. It was blowing the breaker while opening but not closing so I figured it couldn't be the motor since it only spins in one direction. It must be the solenoid($8 on ebay). When I told him I didnt' want the motor he didn't come back to finish the job. He is still sending me invoices for the work plus finance charges.
Here is a pic of his handywork: [attachment=0:v0480rbx]rail-holes.jpg[/attachment:v0480rbx]
So needless to say I closed the pool myself. It went fine with the help of this board and my 2 years of lurking here.
So with all the money I am saving and will save with the help of the people here, thank you! I owe you all a beer.
Moral of the (looonnng) story: The pool service industry (sometimes) takes advantage of the uninformed.