Pool deposit before contract? Refundable?

Joshk716

Member
Nov 5, 2020
8
Buffalo NY
We originally found a builder for our pool back in January, met with the gentleman and went over everything, looked great and he said he would send out the contract sometime that week but needed a $500 deposit to hold our date. We got the contract about a month ago and it states that all electrical work and concrete is on us, as far as finding the contractor and doing all the permit work and paying for it on top of his pool package cost (41k). Since we don't have a signed contract, am I able to cancel and get the $500 back? We did find a more high end pool company in our area who we are going to contract to do our entire backyard.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
27,816
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
That is between you and the PB. Giving deposits without knowing the cancellation policy and having it in writing is always risky.

All you can do is ask and hope your PB does the right thing.
 

Joshk716

Member
Nov 5, 2020
8
Buffalo NY
That is between you and the PB. Giving deposits without knowing the cancellation policy and having it in writing is always risky.

All you can do is ask and hope your PB does the right thing.
I mean at the end of the day, I'm not going to lose my mind over $500 when the project total would be around $60k. I guess the biggest thing is can he come after me for damages even tho I haven't signed anything?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
27,816
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
No. The most he can do is keep your $500. And I think it would be a dumb business move if he did. If he is smart he will refund your $%00 with a smile.
 

Joshk716

Member
Nov 5, 2020
8
Buffalo NY
No. The most he can do is keep your $500. And I think it would be a dumb business move if he did. If he is smart he will refund your $%00 with a smile.
Sounds good. I can live with that. I politely asked him to return it and all he said back was "I ordered your custom pool, ouch".
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
27,816
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Sounds good. I can live with that. I politely asked him to return it and all he said back was "I ordered your custom pool, ouch".

Was this for a fiberglass pool?

He jumped the gun a bit without you returning the signed contract.
 

Joshk716

Member
Nov 5, 2020
8
Buffalo NY
Was this for a fiberglass pool?

He jumped the gun a bit without you returning the signed contract.
This was for a 16x34 vinyl with a ton of add ons. But I told him up front I wouldn't sign anything until I could read it over. Finally got a change to read it all and the buyers responsibilities are...

Full dirt removal - owners expense
Full electric work - owners expense

Full concrete decking - owners expense

When we originally talked to him, he said that he handled dirt removal, the electrical to the pump, just not to our panel and he included 3' of decking but now he said he cant do any of that.

We talked to another builder yesterday and he did a full yard design and would do a turn key pool project with concrete patio/firepit, LED lights throughout, a self cleaning system, salt water system and gas heater for $60k including 2 years of opening and closing with all supplies needed.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,341
NY
I’m sure somebody else JUMPED at the chance to have your dig date so it’s not like they will be sitting home because you cancelled.

That said these things are usually non-refundable. How’d you pay ? You could always dispute a CC or Check.
 

Joshk716

Member
Nov 5, 2020
8
Buffalo NY
I’m sure somebody else JUMPED at the chance to have your dig date so it’s not like they will be sitting home because you cancelled.

That said these things are usually non-refundable. How’d you pay ? You could always dispute a CC or Check.
Yeah he claims that he never has availability and just happened to have our week open last minute. We paid with a check so if doesn't offer to refund us, what would my best course of action be?
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,341
NY
Most banks charge a $30 fee to cancel/dispute a check. The time passed may have been too long though. Call your bank and ask their policies.

In most states you are entitled to cancel a check or CC if you are unsatisfied (which you can easily claim shady builder policies made you cancel). It would then be on him to sue you to recoup the $500 in court and he probably wouldn’t.
 

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
26,959
If you make a verbal or written contract, you can usually get out of it as long as the other party has not substantially completed any part of the contract.

If the other party has relied on the agreement and has incurred costs, you will usually be responsible for the costs incurred.

Since the contract is for more than $500.00, the concept called the Statute of Frauds probably applies, which requires a written contract.

The statute of frauds (SOF) is a legal concept that requires certain types of contracts to be executed in writing. The statute covers contracts for the sale of land, agreements involving goods worth over $500, and contracts lasting one year or more.

If the contractor can prove that they incurred costs related to the agreement, they might be entitled have those costs covered.

For example, if they were holding a date for you and they subsequently declined a new request for work due to the date being held, that might constitute a cost.

Ordering a pool might be a cost depending on exactly what was done.

Did the manufacturer begin constructing a custom pool?

Was anything pulled from inventory and shipped or prepared for shipping?

Did the contractor spend time designing or planning the project?

If they can't prove costs incurred, they should return the money.

Just my opinion, not legal or professional advice.
 
Last edited:

Casey

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2007
12,066
SW PA
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
When my contract was written up, I was told I'm responsible for electrical from the garage to the pump. PB will hook up pump/filter. I'd be responsible for the dirt removal (I'm keeping it all). I'm responsible for all concrete, after initial standard 4ft all around, as it was not part of the price.

My pool builder told me he'd order the pool and I pumped the brakes on him n said I'd feel better if we could wait until I sign the contract and secure the loan first. I told him I'd hate to see him buy something and for whatever reason have something fall through on my end. I told him, I'll give you the go ahead when I get everything secured. We just started the process. Dig day isn't for a few months though.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JamesW

Headbanger783

Well-known member
Aug 16, 2020
49
Pa
We went under contract for a FG pool last August (still waiting on install #covid). I went back and forth. With the PB and our REFUNDABLE deposit was $5000, which was close to 10% of the build cost. Once that was paid we got the contract and as soon as we signed that’s when the pool was ordered.

like I said we are still waiting but we were told nothing may start til June of this year because everyone is so slammed. Engineering and permit application we submitted over the winter.

also we were given an installation sheet in writing with everything included and what isn’t. We knew we’d have to contract out electrical but they do pretty much everything else. We’ve also done some upgrades, VS pump, SWG and each time we need to sign an addendum to the contract that includes cost to upgrade etc.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Newdude

jamjam

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2020
637
NY
Pool Size
25000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
I told my PB “don’t F me over and I won’t F you over” he wrote on my contract in pen that if things go south before the project started that I would get all my money back.

As for your $500. In your mind what was the purpose of that $500? If it was to retain his services and protect your interests, then you might have gotten what you paid for since you canceled on him.

If what he told you verbally didn’t match what was written in the contract then the proper course of action would have been to ask him to reconcile in writing. A lot of contracts are not followed and are overly pro-contractor with silly things that “oh we don’t do that, don’t worry.”

You can ask for it back but since you didn’t put a tremendous amount of due diligence in before handing it over I’d say it might not be worth your time taking any additional action trying to get it back as it will take more than $500 worth of time, and it’s not like this guy tried to screw you over.
 
Thread Status
Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.