They often charged far more than the agreed $130/month. They also claimed they performed services that I saw no evidence of.
My husband and I are retired, and living on a fixed income. We still retain the same housekeeping and lawn services that we have had for the past 20 years. We have no problem with hardworking employees. We hired A&M Pools with a verbal agreement of 130/month. They are very guilty of "price gouging". So many times during the year we employed them we had monthly bills in excess of $200/month. When they were asked not to perform any services without speaking with us first, they would charge us anyway. They charged $65 for an algaecide treatment that I saw no evidence of being performed. Our pool was discolored, but when I terminated A&M Pools, and treated the pool myself, it cleared up right away. They would also claim to come provide service on days that I was home, and didn't see them at all. Also, their secretary is very unpleasant. I know that other customers have had similar complaints...I have spoken to one of them. I think they should employ fair and honest business practices.
I don't want to pay them for work that is questionable, or work that they did not do.
October 17, 2014
R*: Case #********; Mrs. *
TO WHOM IT MAY CONC*RN:
I am responding to the above-referenced claim. This letter will address each and every point Mrs. * made in her claim.
First of all, her husband hired us in May of 2013. We serviced Mr. *'s sister's pool since 2011; the customer is referred to as the "other customers" she spoke with who had similar complaints (hereinafter referred to as "Ms. *"). We had no complaints from Ms. *, until this customer complained. Afterward, Ms. * also started complaining about additional charges on her monthly invoices.
Up until the summer of 2014, we always dealt with Mrs. *'s husband and never had any problems. At the time we were hired, all Mr. * advised was that he wanted us to take care of his pool and do exactly what we were doing for his sister. The price of the cleanings, the work to be done, the price of any chemicals, etc., were never discussed. We serviced Mrs. *'s pool bi-weekly, which is $130.00/month. Occasionally, the months that have 5 weeks in them will cause there to be 3 cleanings during that month when on a bi-weekly basis. Of course, we must charge for that extra week, just as we do with our weekly cleaning customers. By the same token, if for some reason we are unable to clean someone's pool (i.e., due to weather), they are not charged.
All cleanings include "normal" chemicals, i.e., chlorine, soda ash, sodium bicarb, etc. Anything needed other than that, will incur an additional charge. For example, Algaecide, Jack's Magic for stain removal, etc. The algaecide is $30.00/bottle. The $65 algaecide treatment that Mrs. * refers to for the algaecide, was an extra trip that was necessary to clear up the algae problem (and prior to her calling concerning charges).
When a customer is on a bi-weekly service schedule, it is imperative that the customer maintain their pool during the weeks we are not there. This would include checking water and chemical levels, and adding either if needed. Also, it is important to clean the skimmer baskets, backwash the system, etc. It was apparent that these customers were not taking care of the pool on the weeks that we were not there, thus the additional trip was needed. There were a few times that repairs were needed to the equipment of the customer's pool. Mr. * always approved these prior to the repairs being made.
We never received one complaint about the service, or how the pool looked, or that the pool was "discolored" as stated in the customer's complaint until the service was terminated. We advised them that they needed to find another pool company to take care of their needs, as we were unable to maintain the pool as it should be; up to the standards our customers expect and we expect of ourselves. The first time Mrs. * called, she insisted there be no extra charges without first consulting her. It is impossible, with the limitations Mrs. * was dictating as to what we could and could not do, to keep a pool pristine. We only make additional trips and/or use additional chemicals when absolutely necessary. Mrs. * also makes that statement that we "would claim to come provide services on days that I was home and didn't see them at all." This is definitely not true, as we do not list the individual dates we were there on our invoices, only the month for which the charges were incurred. (Of course, if needed we can tell a customer exactly when we were there by our technician's work ticket.)
The first time Mrs. * called to complain about an invoice, I contacted her husband, as I had always dealt with him in the past and never had any problems. He stated that he had put Mrs. * on a budget and paying for pool maintenance was now her responsibility. He also advised that the less said to his wife, the better off things would be.
It should be noted that this was a mutual termination! We have many, many satisfied customers and made the decision that we did not have time for someone who wanted to dictate how we should or shouldn't conduct our business. We advised Mrs. * and Ms. * that they needed to find another pool company to deal with because we would no longer be servicing their pools.
Payment was received from this customer on 10/10/14;on the same day we received this complaint filed with the BBB. This was approximately 3 months after she received a statement which outlined the invoices that had been paid (or partially paid) and the amount due and owed. The services billed for were done and any materials/chemicals used were necessary.
We have N*V*R practiced "price gouging", nor have we ever been accused of it. We pride ourselves in being an honest, hardworking company. We have been in business since 2000. In that time, we have never had a complaint filed with the BBB or anyone else. We have had many of our customers for the entire 14 years we've been in business. Also, the very unpleasant secretary Mrs. *. refers to happens to be me. We have many customers who would be happy to respond to any questions the BBB might have concerning our work ethics. *everal have advised that they would be more than willing to write response/recommendation letters if that would be helpful.
Based on the above, we maintain that this customer is not entitled to a refund of any monies paid to our company. *hould you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
As a biweekly employee, for over 40 years, I fully understand about the extra week in some months. I was told $130/month. There is a difference between monthly and biweekly. We should have been advised of that to begin with. Also, the "president" of this company has me confused with someone else. It was not a "mutual termination". That was not us. We fired them. . My husband's sister used this company, and she complained to the owner that someone named "********" was consistently untruthful with her. The owner told my sister-in-law that he didn't know why "********" chose to lie, but he apologized for her behavior. That may be who she is referring to...I don't know Our skimmer basket gets emptied every day, because our pool is surrounded by trees. I just didn't see evidence that A&M Pools were seeing us. And, we were victims of "price gouging". Our bill was more than $130/month on more than one occasion. When a customer is unhappy with service, there is a reason for it. I have always handled the budget, bills and money in our family, and $130/month means $130/month. unless I am consulted first. We are both retired now, and on a fixed income. Bills in excess of $400 are certainly a problem. I didn't appreciate not being advised, getting a bill...and a cloudy pool on top of that. It's also interesting to note that when we started doing our own pool care, as we have been for the past 17 years, it cleared up. I have retained the same lawn service for the past 30 years, and the same cleaning service for the past 20 years. I also held the same job for 34 years, and am still employed with them part time, post retirement. I am not hard to get along with, or to please. I suggest A&M Pools communicate with their customers, and examine why someone would be unhappy with them, rather than point the finger at their customer. I wrote notes on my bills to them. and they never called me. Also, derogatory remarks were made to my sister-in-law about me, and I don't appreciate that. My sister-in-law don't talk very ofter....quite honestly about 4 to 5 times per year, and we were experiencing similar problems. We found our concerns to be similar. These people are very unprofessional, and I wouldn't recommend them to anyone. A paying customer with a credit rating in the 800's certainly deserves better than this kind of disrespectful treatment.
Final Business Response
We have received the Consumer's Response to our Response to the original complaint. I have spoken with Ms. ********* at the BBB concerning this complaint. I stand by my initial response to Ms. *'s complaint. I set out our billing structure in our original response and our position in this matter has not changed. The Consumer was not charged for any work that was not done, nor any parts/chemicals that were not used! We would have no idea what Mrs. *'s credit rating is because we accept jobs in Good Faith, and expect to be treated the same way. It is curious to me why, if the Consumer was indeed unhappy with our services and the way her pool looked, that we never heard from her or received any complaint until the termination of services.
As far as her sister-in-law complaining to the owner, or any employee of A & M Pools, about someone named ""********" sic consistently being untruthful with her, and that he apologized for her behavior, and said he didn't know why "********" sic chose to lie, but apologized for her behavior", this N*V*R happened, not once. I am the owner of A & M Pools, Inc. I have checked with my employees who state that this conversation never occurred. I have always encouraged our customers to contact me of any problems whatsoever so that, if I am aware of problems, I can address them immediately.
In closing, I would reiterate that we have never practiced "price gouging" and that this is the only complaint we have ever had filed since being accredited and becoming members of the BBB. We are entitled to payment for the charges billed. I see no way to resolve this matter amicably. Unless further notified by the BBB, we are closing our file on this matter.
A & M Pools, Inc.