Looking for input on situation with pool contractor

brianmcb

Active member
Apr 4, 2010
32
South Jersey
We had a SWG and heat pump installed on our pool this spring. I got estimates with a few different contractors and went with one that had the best reputation and a decent price. Before agreeing to have the work done, I specifically asked if the price was to have everything completely installed. The answer was yes.

Unfortunately I did not get this in writing before the equipment was installed. The SWG was installed and is working great. But the heat pump requires more electricity than my current lines can deliver (something the contractor pointed out ahead of time). When I got home from work the day they installed it, I noticed the heater wasn't working. I called them and they informed me that I will have to hire an electrician to run new lines (meaning it had no power). They never mentioned that I would have to hire someone else to do this. Now, in my business, "completely installed" means "done", as in, fully working and ready to use.

I feel cheated.

First of all, how do I know that the heater is even working? It has no power. I'm not paying for something that isn't working. I have not signed off on the work to pay the remainder of the bill, for this reason.

Second, isn't it shady to offer a quote as "fully installed" when there is more work to be done? I got an estimate from a local electrician and it's going to cost $1000 to upgrade the lines to my pool equipment.

Third, does anyone have any suggestions for my course of action? I was planning to request them to complete the installation for the agreed upon price, or remove the heater and refund my deposit minus the price of the SWG. But since I didn't get anything in writing, am I going to have to pay $1000 to learn a pretty big lesson?
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
22,969
SouthWest Alabama
I can't give you legal advice but here's a couple of questions.
Do you have a contract with them?
Does the quote state installed complete system or words to that effect?
 

brianmcb

Active member
Apr 4, 2010
32
South Jersey
I will have to check the quote when I get home to see the exact wording.

There was no contract written up (I know, I'm an idiot). I bought the house in the fall and this was the first time I've ever hired someone to do major work. All we have is the estimate they provided us. The estimate actually covers more work than we had them do (some plaster/tile work that we chose not to do this year).

So even though I'm pretty sure we have no legal grounds to request them to finish it, we do have the fact that we have $10,000 worth of work to do next spring and I'll be happy to find someone else to do it.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
22,969
SouthWest Alabama
Sounds like you have the best leverage of all.

Without a contract you're at their mercy hopefully they'll respond hoping to get the rest of the work next year.
 

loughps

Well-known member
Apr 26, 2009
221
Northeast Ohio
To start off, I'll say I'm not trying to be inflammatory. I'm just giving my perspective.

The way I would have interpreted what you're describing is different. If the contractor pointed out that your wiring was not sufficient for what he was installing, I would have taken "fully installed" to mean I needed to get the wiring upgraded and have that ready at the pad for the rest of his install. When we had our heater installed we had to have a gas line run out to the pad and I didn't expect the equipment installer to be doing that. I think the contractor will likely make the same argument.

(**Not legal advice**) Without a contract though, it's probably all a matter of understanding or misunderstanding. In his business, this could be the norm, but in your mind you were expecting something different. I agree with Bama though. Having that much additional work, you're in a good spot to negotiate. If you're happy with his work other than this particular part, you might chalk it up to a lesson learned and a possible misunderstanding and see if he'll meet you halfway to get the rest of the work.

I hope it works out well for you.