Frustrated and struggling to get answers, homeowners in Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties claim they’ve paid for pools, but have been waiting for months, some even years, for the work to be completed.
Now, Premier Pools and Spas of Salida is in hot water, not only with upset customers but with the state as well.
It was supposed to be a dream pool come true, and now it's an 8-foot deep disaster.
"I promised my kids that we’re going to enjoy our summer here in our backyard, but unfortunately, it seems like we have to wait for another year,” said Nauman Bashir, a Mountain House customer.
Bashir and his wife Lubna looked over their backyard in Mountain House and saw the family pool that could have been.
He said he paid Premier Pools and Spas $8,000 to begin building their pool back in May 2015.
According to the contract, the work was supposed to begin "ASAP" and finish within "8 to 12 weeks."
“I paid them the first installment on May 21, and since then, it’s like there’s no communication, they would not respond to my text messages, my phone calls,” Bashir told FOX40.
Months later, Bashir has documented his communication with the company.
Texts, emails, and calls to the store’s owner, Donald Boucher, and his staff, all unanswered. While Boucher has dodged calls from unhappy customers, FOX40 did catch up with him on the phone.
He refused to do an on-camera interview, but he said there are just a handful of complaints, while he’s had hundreds of happy customers.
But there’s a pattern of complaints against Boucher. The Better Business Bureau has given the company an "F" rating based on failure to respond to numerous complaints and warranty issues.
"One, two, three, four, five, six. We got six consumer complaints that are being disclosed on our website,” said Rick Lopes with the Contractors State License Board.
On the state’s website, more complaints and more unhappy customers.
"We’ve continued to get complaints with the same kind of problems. And it’s gotten to a point now where the contractors board is going to look to take action against the license,” Lopes said.
FOX40 also took these issues to Premier’s parent company in Sacramento.
“(The complaints are) fair enough. You know, and once we are notified, then we have to give the licensee an opportunity to remedy the situation,” Paul Porter, the CEO with Premier Pools Management Corporation, said.
Porter said Boucher has independently owned and operated the store out of Salida for the past two years. But just weeks ago, the Sacramento office took over and cut ties with Boucher.
“We remove the license, we made arrangements to go in and to take care of every customer like we have for the last 28 years,” Porter said.
The CEO added that every customer who has been waiting for their pools to be completed will wait no more.
“We’re not getting a dime from any of the customers. Invest whatever it takes to make sure that all those customers are made whole and taken care of,” he said.
FOX40 has been digging into these pool problems since August and there are finally some repairs underway. In fact, a customer in Oakdale who had been waiting for almost two years to have his broken light and pump fixed finally had the work completed in early December.
As for Bashir, he’s still waiting for his hole to be transformed into a pool.
“There’s some quality issues, there’s some safety issues with that, and I’m not going to take that risk (with Premier),” he said.
But he’s hesitant to work with the company again.
As for Boucher’s license with the state, the Contractors State License Board said they have taken steps to work with him but might revoke the license. The process could take months.