New Pool Horror Story

What a nightmare!!
After reviewing several estimates, I selected Premier Pools and Spas (Sacramento, CA) as the builder for my in-ground swimming pool. What a big mistake! It was disappointment from day one of construction. The sales staff, the job scheduling staff, and the construction crews obviously do not meet with each other as they do not know what the heck is going on. Here's my horror story:
Salesman's final quote for a free form gunite pool, 40' length, 18' width, 3.5' to 8' depth, $30000 if we had no problems. This was with their Winter discount. I couldn't decide on plaster or Pebble Tec so the quote didn't include the cost for that.
Salesman quoted $800 to $1600 extra if we hit water during excavation as I live in a high ground water table area.
Signed the contract on Friday the 13th of Dec 2002 (bad luck already).
Jan 1 2003 - Contract is binding. Salesman said construction should take about 8 weeks.
Feb 14 - Came and drew the pool layout on the ground. Had to shift the pool location over 10 feet since the excavation crew needed space to operate the equipment. The pool is now right in the middle of my backyard. I wanted more space on one side for some kind of lawn area, but now that has changed. Bobcat excavator was getting stuck in the mud, so they called it quits after digging down 1.5 to 2 feet.
Mar 9 - Subcontracted out for better equipment, dug down and hit the ground water table (at 5 feet), called it quits.
Excavation supervisor came out, said it'll be $3900 to $6000 to finish the dig!!!! Salesman said to save money, I could just go with a shallow pool. Bogus!!
Apr 15 & 16 - They rented equipment and finished the excavation (I don't know what the total excavation cost will be yet).
Apr 22 - Installed the plumbing.
Apr 24 - Installed the rebar. Started the dreaded pumps that will try to control the ground water, runs 24x7.
Apr 28 - Installed the electrical.
May 2 - Shot gunite. I picked out the tile (decided to upgrade, cost extra $) and decided to go with Pebble Sheen (will also cost $$), picked the color for that too.
May 8 - Installed tile on waterline.
May 23 - Installed forms for concrete decking.
May 28 - Poured concrete decking. I decided to upgrade to a colored, stamped finish for $2450. The color did not turn out right, they missed stamping on several areas. Said they would come out to look at it, I'd be at home waiting 3 different days for no shows. They finally came on the fourth try and fixed the the color and stamping, it looks OK now.
Jun 4 - Cleaned and prepped the gunite.
Jun 5 - Installed the pool equipment. Things are looking good now, may have a pool soon! But, this is the last major work done. I haven't seen any work done since.
Jun 20 - Called my salesman, he said it'll be done on by next Friday. Alright! Will be swimming soon.
Jun 25 - No work yet this week. I called, oops, no work has been scheduled for this week for me. So I complained about the pump, it sits right outside my bedroom window, is so noisy it hard to get a good nights sleep. My electric bill is 3x higher. So they came out and disconnected it from my electrical panel. They said I could have turned it of - hard to do that since it is wired into the electrical panel.
They still need to install an electrical outlet and fix one of the waterline tiles (as they installed a pipe there that leads to nothing).
Many phone calls and a letter have not been sucessful. My salesman now tells me that the Pebble Sheen color I have picked is not in stock! To date I have paid three installments (90% paid!!).
I have notified the Better Business Bureau and the Contractor's State License Board.
Moral of this story, get it all in writing, keep good records, take pictures. Good luck on your pool!
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I empathize. I do not know anyone who had a pool installed without serious issues. Builders come and go. I think you should devote some time to seek out a competent attorney to write company a letter, that might get their attention. Good luck, Seamus J. Wilson

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Yet another reason why I will never buy or own a pool! To me, pools are a lot like boats (acquisition and disposal being the two happiest moments of ownership). Pools make even less sense in my area, metro Boston, which offers maybe 8 weeks of reasonable pool weather (yet two of my neighbors are having pools installed as I type this message).
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A neighbor of mine had a problem with a pool install in a high water table..................
Watch out for this possible future problem: Because the pool excavation disturbed the natural sediment layers a path for groundwater escape may occur. In my case my neighbor who is slightly uphill from me cut through a layer of clay. Now every spring or fall or after a day of rain I get a Beverly Hillbilly "Bubbling Crude" type of surface water. It floods my backyard. What happens is the water trapped under the clay increases its pressure after rainy times. If it can find a local release it will surface. I believe this mechanism is called "sheeting". I hope you or your neighbor will not suffer from this. I'm still looking for a solution to my problem.
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