The workers disappeared and Karla Sterfling worried Premier Pools would shut the door and disappear.
She has company. We spoke with seven customers who share similar stories.
Each paid Premier Pools as much as $100 thousand to turn their back yard dreams into reality.
Sterfling and another customer Jason Peters say they saved for a decade to pay for these pools that now sit as concrete pits. In most cases the contract dates back to between January and September of 2016.
Trevor Summers ran the Tampa franchise of Premier Pools when each of these contracts were signed last year. None of these customers had a clue he had an arrest record dating back 15 years. Or that just last fall he pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges in an unrelated case in Philadelphia.
In a statement Summers told us:
“In response to your question regarding what caused delays in construction of pools under contract, there were several factors. The leading problem faced was coming into a new market with high company standards that were difficult to enforce based on local industry standards, workforce availability, and trade skill levels. We set out to construct industry leading design and techniques which unfortunately amounted to an excess of $200,000 in construction loss the first year. As the former design and sales manager, I observed the construction department having a difficult time keeping up with the sales due to these difficulties. Delays in construction were relegated to having to wait on more profitable projects to work on projects with a deficit. Other factors involved in performance were the learning curve in this market as well as taking time to train labor forces on the methods and higher standards we desired to follow in construction. We made many efforts to overcompensate and go out of our way for customers which also increased our goodwill budget and expenses to adhere to the quality and performance standards instilled in the company. Although I have not been involved and active with the company since early October, I believe the current management is making a strong effort to rectify project delays and construction and will continue to build quality projects in the area.”
Steve high is the contractor who holds the license to install Premier Pools. High claims Summers mismanaged the business before he left the company in December.
The company, under new management says they will finish construction on the contracts we inquired about within the month.
Crews have returned to several sites in the last week to resume work.
Homeowners living with a concrete pit all these months remain skeptical as do their families.
The company admits its biggest mistake was not being transparent when they ran into financial trouble. If problems persist state regulators may get involved which could mean fines or disciplinary action against the company’s license.