Purchaser Beware: BBB provides native pool contractor F score as issues persist
First Coast families learn the hard way that when something “seems too good to be true,” it usually means that it is too good to be true.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Families on the First Coast learn the hard way that when something “seems too good to be true” it usually means that it is actually too good to be true.
More than two dozen families express frustration with the local contractor “Florida Pools” or “Florida Pools and More”. They say they have lost thousands of dollars and are demanding answers.
Since our initial investigation into the company, the Better Business Bureau in Jacksonville has been inundated with complaints against the company.
Florida Pools’ parent company is called “BranRox, LLC” but has also been taken over by Showcase Pool and Spa, Family Pools and More and Family Pool and Spa.
On Thursday, First Coast News discovered that one of the pool company’s managers was previously in trouble. According to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Patrick Flanagan was hired in 2015 for his work at “H2O Industries, Inc.” examined. and “Family Pool Spa and Billiards Center” and ordered thousands of dollars to be paid to customers.
The state agency also says Marion York was investigated and paid thousands of dollars as well.
In response to our inquiry, the state told First Coast News, “The complaint regarding Mr. Flanagan relates to H2O Industries, Inc., a family pool spa and billiards center. Another complaint under a previous qualifier was The Name Marion Eugene York , Jr. is also pertinent to this inquiry. “Qualifying a Company” means that the Contractor has agreed to assume full responsibility for the Company, including financial transactions, signing approvals, and overseeing any contracts in which the Company is involved. “
Shannon Nelson is with the BBB in Jacksonville. She says she is seeing an increase in complaints about contractors. Pool entrepreneurs, she says, should be given special scrutiny.
“That happens a lot,” said Nelson. “We’re all very interested in what’s going on.”
She says if customers have made a down payment but haven’t received a job, they may want to contact the sheriff’s office. For most people, work started; it just never finished.
“The fact that they started work is more of a civil law issue,” she said.
She says that the company’s downgrade to an “F” rating is the result of an algorithm that takes into account 13 factors for a company, such as the company’s response.
“We didn’t get any response at all, they didn’t communicate with BBB or with consumers.”
First Coast News assumed the local address given for the registered owner, but it was a private mailbox. The current address on the Facebook page has now been taken over by a furniture store. None of the company’s owners will return calls or messages.
Mike Hancock is a contractor at BPS Swimming Pools, an independent company.
“I was contacted by one of the victims,” said Hancock.
He says he is hired to step in and help and try to correct someone else’s injustice.
“It’s the first time I’ve tried to prevent another contractor from getting a permit. It took me about a week to find out.”
He says St. Johns, Clay, Nassau and Duval counties stepped up to change permits quickly after learning of the situation.
“When you hear a woman dying of cancer and you just want her pool ready for her kids, it’s just very difficult to hear the stories,” he said. “I just hope it isn’t malicious. We will help everyone we can hopefully use to best their advantage.”
The BBB says the Florida Homeowners Construction Recovery Fund exists to help people in this situation, but in order to receive money, a judgment must first be passed against the company that is accused of wrongdoing. Once a judgment has been reached, a refund can be requested.
In addition to reporting on their website, the BBB recommends filing a complaint at www.MyFloridaLicense.com. They also recommend reporting any issues to the Attorney General.
The state could neither approve nor deny First Coast News if they had opened an investigation. They said they couldn’t comment on an active investigation.
The BBB says you should always have at least three estimates from reputable companies before signing a contract.
Click this link for the 12 detailed tips on hiring a Florida pool business.