A Nebraska pool company left multiple customers with unsightly pits, a lawsuit alleges.
Premier Pools and Spas would collect 95% of the payments for the pools, then disappear.
Customers paid up to $133,000 for pools, but were left with "ugly gaping holes in their yards," the AG alleges.
At least five Nebraska homeowners have been left with massive, unsightly pits in their backyards after a local pool installation company took tens of thousands of dollars in payments and vanished before finishing the projects, according to a new lawsuit from Nebraska's attorney general.
Premier Pools and Spas "swindled" customers and left them saddled with dirt piles, damage to decks and patios, rebar protruding from the ground, and stagnant water pooling inside the unfinished mud pits, the lawsuit alleged. Then, the company even tried to illegally silence customers from leaving online reviews and complaints, according to the lawsuit.
"These consumers deserve their money back. They deserve to live in homes without dangerous and ugly gaping holes in their yards," the lawsuit said.
The company's "scheme" was simple, the attorney general alleged. Premier Pools would require customers to pay 45% of the total bill upfront, then would dig a hole in their yards. The company would then refuse to continue construction until customers paid another 50% of the total bill — at which point Premier Pools would stop answering their calls and texts.
"Premier Pools disappears, makes empty promises to return to finish the job, and evades and ignores refund requests, leaving behind gaping, dangerous pits in Nebraskan backyards," the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit said customers lost sums of money ranging from $76,000 to $133,000 "based on deceptive representations."
The attorney general's office tallied up five occasions in which Premier Pools failed to complete pools despite accepting nearly full payment, and three occasions in which Premier Pools completed pools that were unsafe or unusable. The lawsuit said several customers also had to hire other companies to complete or fix the the company's "unacceptable work."
The lawsuit also cast doubt on whether Premier Pools has even built a single pool. The company's website is bedecked with pictures of sparkling, luxurious outdoor pools, but the AG's lawsuit alleged that not a single photo actually portrayed Premier Pools' work. Instead, the company used photos from third-party manufacturers and other pool installation companies.
A person who answered the phone at Premier Pools declined to comment on the lawsuit and hung up when an Insider reporter asked to speak to the company's owner.
The lawsuit said the attorney general's office has received "numerous complaints regarding Premier Pools' conduct and scheme from swindled customers and contractors who are desperate to get their money back."
In one case, the company even refused to complete a customer's pool after learning that customer had filed a complaint with the attorney general's office, according to the lawsuit.
Premier Pools also included an illegal gag clause in its contract, which stated that the contract would be terminated if the customer posted social media reviews or sought assistance from the Better Business Bureau without allowing Premier Pools to resolve the situation, according to the lawsuit.
Read the original article on Insider