Below we have gone into detail regarding our experience with Mike to clarify the inaccurate statements above. First, we want to address Mike’s main point that no compensation was given for his inconvenience which is completely false. We were hired by Mike in March of last year to install a new liner and to partially complete the work of replacing the skimmer. Mike is correct in saying that there was an issue with a minor leak around the skimmer we installed, however it was unrelated to our workmanship but due to warping of the pool wall. We immediately took action to determine the source of the dampness around the newly installed skimmer. We made several visits in the days after the work was completed and after having two third party companies inspect the pool within a week, none of the parties could detect a leak using industry standard tests. As soon as the source of the leak was determined we agreed to provide free service to compensate Mike for the inconvenience of our tests not locating the leak and the time it took. This included weekly maintenance (chemicals not included) for the remainder of the 2012 season and the entire 2013 season, as well as a pool opening and closing. Since client satisfaction is our number one priority we agreed to do this even though the free service was valued at substantially more than the value of any water loss the client experienced. The leak was repaired, at no cost to the customer, but unfortunately we had to stop the free service when Mike refused to pay his balance owing to us for the fully completed liner/skimmer work as well as the chemicals that had been sold to him. We even went an extra step in order secure payment and offered to discount the original skimmer repair bill by half and Mike continued to refuse to pay.
Once the skimmer was installed, the new liner was in place, and the pool was filled, Mike noticed moisture on the wall around the skimmer and contacted us. As indicated above we immediately went out to inspect it and visually inspected the skimmer and ensured that all of the mounting screws were in place and tight. We then immediately contacted our preferred leak detection company to make sure that there were no leaks in the pool, AT NO COST TO THE CUSTOMER. They performed the test on May 25th, only two days after Mike contacted us to report the dampness around the skimmer. The leak detection company performed a dye test which did not indicate any leaks, however, they did epoxy some old screw holes around the new skimmer as a preventative measure. At no time did they indicate that there was a gasket missing as Mike incorrectly stated. After the old screw holes were epoxied the moisture did not go away so we had the company return to re-inspect, and went the further step to have our diver sent to inspect the pool for leaks, again, AT NO COST TO THE CUSTOMER. Unfortunately both companies were unable to locate any leaks and it was concluded that the moisture present around the skimmer could/must be ground water escaping from beneath the liner; this was based on their tests showing no leaks and the fact that the pool had no measurable water loss.
Understandably Mike was frustrated when there was no definite cause that we could locate for the moisture around the new skimmer so he decided to take food colouring and place it in the skimmer to see if he could detect a leak. This procedure did and we immediately contacted the companies that we paid to perform the tests to follow up; again the industry standard dye test showed no leak. Neither us nor the other companies had experienced this before; it was determined that the leak was so minor that the dye test with food colour worked because it is a much thinner consistency than the dye our industry uses. We did replace the newly installed skimmer with another at this time in order to rule out that it was defective. It is important to note that during this time we never once asked for any payment in relation to the skimmer installation, we wanted to make sure the issue was fixed first; however, Mike did refuse to pay for the balance of the liner installation that was 100% complete.
After we installed the second skimmer the dampness did not go away so we determined that the pool wall must not be perfectly plumb. The recommend fix was to remove the skimmer, make an oversized hole in the steel wall in order for a steel template to be attached to the wall which we would mount the skimmer to. We would then be 100% confident that the new skimmer would line up perfectly and would not leak. Due to the fact that this issue was not caused by our workmanship we quoted $500.00 to complete the repair, which Mike refused to authorize. Instead he wanted a possible quick fix completed (just widening the existing hole a bit) in the hopes that it would work. We indicated to Mike that we didn't want to complete this type of work as we wanted to make sure that the issue would be fixed, this is what he refers to us being difficult. We also wanted the client to avoid the expense of draining and refilling the pool twice if the quick fix did not work. The lengthy delay to rectify the problem was because Mike refused to allow/pay us to perform our recommended fix and we refused to do the quick fix. After time passed and many visits/conversations with Mike could not change his opinion, and no payment for the liner work was provided, we finally agree to perform the quick fix to resolve the situation and so we could get our payment. We did not want Mike to perform the task out of the fear that it would be done incorrectly and we would be blamed.
In the end the quick fix did work and the dampness went away. We did not charge Mike for any work related to the repair, and we continued to perform the free maintenance. After 30 days had passed since the leak was repaired we contacted Mike to arrange payment for the balance on his account. Once again he refused to pay and now stated that there was debris behind the liner related to the repair. This was unlikely but we told Mike that in order to avoid down time on the pool we would inspect/remove any debris at the time of the closing when the water level would be drained down, and he could hold back $500.00 of the balance owing as insurance. Once again he refused to pay so we indicated that we would have to put the free service on hold until payment was made; this was done as we felt that we were not going to receive any further payments. Mike refused these terms and stated we were not welcome on his property.
This was an unfortunate experience, but we believe that we made every effort to make the situation right, which we will always strive to do.
Brian Hildebrand and Grant Hildebrand
Owner’s of Ultimate Pool Service Inc.