North Texas

Another Homeowner Pays Thousands for Pool, Left With A Backyard Mess

Earlier this month we told you about a Rowlett family whose backyard project was abandoned by a local contractor.

They paid the pool company more than $54,000 but the owner said he had to close up shop and file for bankruptcy.

Now, another North Texas family has come forward.

Gina and Kerry Kind paid Poolscapes NTX tens of thousands of dollars. Just like the family we spoke with earlier this month, they say the owner ditched their project.

"They paid the owner in installments, totaling more than $54,000," said Gina Kind. "My heart is just pounding listening to it."

She couldn't believe what she was seeing while hearing our story on NBC 5 Today. A coworker sent her a link to our story about Yvette Turner whose backyard pool project went down the drain.

"I was just shaking. I was next to tears and it was devastating. It was like re-living it all over," Kind said.

Just like the Turner family, Kerry and Gina Kind signed a contract with Poolscapes NTX last November. They worked directly with the owner, Chris Michaels.

They say they paid more than 95 percent, totaling more than $34,000 out of pocket. The Kinds needed the backyard to be finished by February just in time for their daughter's wedding.

They say Michaels assured them he could make it happen.

"He was very personable, very friendly, he returned our phone calls, [he would] text immediately if we would text him back — until February hit."

They noticed the workers were no longer showing up and the owner was nowhere to be found.

"I couldn't get a hold of him, you know and I was really working hard to try to contact him using other people's phones and whatever I had to do," said Kerry Kind.

When they did finally reach him:

"He said he was going out of business, his company was shutting down, he was going to file for bankruptcy. And that he wouldn't be returning. He said he was sorry."

Similar to the Turners' backyard, the Kinds say their project isn't finished either. Because of the wedding they had to hire another company to get the pool done immediately.

But they still don't know how they're going to pay for it after being $34,000 in the hole.

"A lot of people are going to ask, 'why would you pay so much up front'? We were under the assumption certain things were done."

We still haven't found any documents that prove Michaels filed for bankruptcy under Poolscapes NTX but he has filed in the past under another business name.

The Turners now have a lien on their home from a subcontractor who wasn't paid by Chris Michaels.

Meanwhile, the Kinds are just trying to keep their heads above water, and hoping they can somehow get their money back. 

We asked Chris Michaels about the kinds backyard project and we are still waiting on a response. Earlier this month, he said his business went bankrupt and was "out of business, gone forever."

These are Samantha's Solutions to prevent this from happening to you:

  • When you're looking for a contractor, consider choosing one that's been in business under the same name for many years. That's usually a really good sign
  • You can check court records to see if they have any pending lawsuits which could be a red flag
  • I should note the process of looking up a company's legal history may take some time and effort but it's worth it
  • Check the references that the contractor has. Speak to them directly. It's a lot more effective than looking at comments from people you don't know
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