We contracted with Carefree Pool Corp. to build an inground pool. In their contract, they are very explicit about what amounts of money must be paid when, but as to what they will provide there are a few very vague items.
We had to hire our own engineer and submit all of the paperwork to the township for the permits, which we did. The permits were granted and Carefree began their work. After digging the hole in our yard, they told us that because of the slope of our yard they would have to build the pool up 18" and the additional cost for sand and concrete would be $4,500.00. We questioned why the engineer never mentioned this and they assured my that I had gotten a bad engineer. So I called the engineer, who came back at no charge, and re-surveyed the land, and assured me the original design was fine and that Carefree was trying to rip us off. After an afternoon of arguing with the pool builder, we finally got the manager Carefree, Norm Ginsburg, the engineer, and the township's supervisor of inspections on a conference call. The end result was that the township told Carefree that they approved the engineer's design and if Carefree did not build the pool to the engineer's specifications, the township would not approve the work. Carefree then agreed that original design would work, but because they dug the hole for the design they wanted to install rather than what we wanted the dirt in the yard would have to be moved around to adjust the slope. We had to pay an additional $1748.00 to have a backhoe come back and move the dirt around.(Any additional need for a backhoe beyond the original 8 hours was the responsibility of the BUYER, according to the contract).
When it came time to install the concrete decking around the pool, we understood that 3 feet of concrete was included in the contract as an item entitled 'CONCRETE FOOTING'. We called the sub-contracted concrete contrator, provided to us by Carefree, to set up a time to schedule the work. No price was discussed because it was understood that this was pre-paid as part of the price of the pool. The concrete contractor didn't request to come out and look at the job and they didn't request us to sign a separate contract with them. However, our township requires that they inspect after the framing and gravel are installed, but before the concrete is actually poured. When the concrete contractor contacted the township to find out if they could have an inpector available on the day they wanted to come out so they could get all the work done in one day, the township told them they couldn't do the work at all because they weren't licensed in the township. They gave the township inspector the argument that they were sub-contracted by Carefree and Carefree is licensed in the township, therefore, they should be able to do the work. We contacted the township and was told that Carefree should have made sure they sub-contracted to a concrete contractor licensed in our township. We called Norm Ginsburg, at Carefree Pools, and he told us that the concrete was not included in the contract and by thinking 'CONCRETE FOOTING' was the deck around the pool we were mistaken. We were free to contract with and pay anyone we wanted to install the concrete. If this was true, why did the concrete contractor consider himself a sub-contrator of Carefree? Why did he not want to inspect the job before he agreed to do the work? Why did he not give us a price for the work and ask us to sign a contract with him? Why didn't he do any of these things? Because Norm Ginsburg knew that he did sub-contract this contractor to do the work, but because he didn't want the hassle of getting him licensed in our township, he decided to screw us and hide behind the vague wording of the contract.
If you are even considering of installing a pool, first of all make sure the contract is very explicit, and if it is anywhere near the Philadelphia area, avoid CAREFREE POOL CORP. at all costs. It carefree all right, carefree for them!