Backyard swimming pool project turns into construction nightmare

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PEORIA - A Peoria man wanted a beautiful backyard swimming pool, but claims all he got was an eyesore.

It all comes down to getting things is writing.

In this particular case, a local pool company said they built a swimming pool to the exact height Erin O'Connor wanted.

However, he said that's just not true.

So, what does the paperwork say, well, that's another problem because there's nothing in the contract that says exactly how high the pool should really be.

"A fun safe environment for my children and the neighborhood children to come and play," he said.

Wanting to create that fun environment, O'Connor contracted with Blue Haven Pools in June of last year to start building his backyard pool.

"The deep end was here because of the plan of a large grado slide," he said. "It would dump the kids off in this area."

Erin said he was excited about the $50,000 pool, but nearly halfway through the construction, he claimed there was a problem.

"What happened here I don't really know I just noticed it was a severe issue after they had put all the concrete in the ground," he said.

The issue according to O'Connor anyway is the height of the pool extending out of the ground.

O'Connor believes it's way too high.

"The issue is that this is 12-inches above the dirt," he said.

O'Connor said he wanted the pool nearly flush to the ground but with it sticking out 12 inches, he believes it not only looks unsightly, but there might be drainage problems if he hires someone later to connect the pool decking to his existing home patio.

"If my pool overflows or I have a huge rain my entire downstairs of my home will be full of water," he said.

O'Connor said he spoke with Blue Haven Pools about the pool's height, but he claimed they're not speaking with him much, and when they do, they just want to be paid what they're owed so far.

"The company is saying it's my fault that I asked for it," he said.

O'Connor denies asking for a pool that high and although he is $16,000 into the project so far he has stopped construction and stopped paying, saying the project has turned into a nightmare.

"Now they're suing for the entire contract balance plus 24% interest, plus damages, plus attorney fees to the tune of roughly $42 thousand dollars," he said.

O'Connor said Blue Haven Pools has even slapped a mechanic's lien on his home in order to get their money. That is when he contacted 3 On Your Side.

"At this point of time I would just like to be released of my contract, released of my mechanic's lien, I would like to part ways with the company right now and I'll deal with the modifications of this pool," he said.

We contacted Blue Haven Pools and they told us they have done absolutely nothing wrong, saying their workmanship is fine and that the pool was built to O'Connor's specifications because he was going to elevate his patio with paver stone and that would make it level with the pool.

In a written statement to 3 On Your Side, the company said, "Blue Haven has fully honored its contractual obligations to Erin O'Connor. (His pool) has been built in complete accordance with his wishes and per his contract."

Blue Haven Pools tells 3 On Your Side they are willing to resolve this issue, saying

"We will happily alter the pool shell to his new specifications and grant his request to complete the pool himself."

But Blue Haven said they'll only do that if O'Connor pays them $15,000, which is actually what O'Connor already owes them up until this point.

Still, O'Connor said he's not satisfied with that option, and said the issue might have to be resolved in court.

"This is in no way, shape or form what I had designed, agreed, conceptualized, or asked for," O'Connor said.

I should point out that there is nothing in writing or in the contract indicating exactly how high the pool is supposed to be, and that's part of the problem here.

3 On Your Side has a pretty good track record when it comes to getting both sides to reach some kind of agreement, but in this case even though we got both sides talking, O'Connor isn't quite satisfied and said the issue will probably go to court.