Action 9

Action 9 investigates Melbourne contractor

MELBOURNE, Fla. — A couple dozen homeowners claim they spent a small fortune on backyards pools then begged the contractor to finish the job.

“A big hole filled with cement,” Franklin Drakes told Action 9, pointing to his yard.

He said that’s what he has to show for the nearly $40,000 he and Tekiyah McGann paid to Legacy Pools. Drakes signed a contract over a year ago.

McGann says she’s afraid to let her kids play in the backyard because the pool is unsafe and has not been worked on for six months.

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“(There’s a) puddle of water that’s in the pool right now. There are wires sticking up out of the ground. It’s a hazard to everybody,” McGann said.

The couple says all attempts to get answers from Legacy have been dead ends. At the company’s office in Melbourne, they found a note on the door stating that the “office will be closed to walk-in visits” and their goal is “to provide a safe and protected place for our staff.”

“Feels like they’re going to just close and leave us pool-less and moneyless,” Drakes said.

Action 9 received eight other complaints about Legacy Pools and found two pending lawsuits in Brevard County, and the Better Business Bureau was contacted by 24 homeowners in the past year.

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“The reason the company has an F-rating is because nearly 52% of those complaints are unresolved or unanswered,” said BBB President Holly Salmons.

Salmons said pools are big jobs that typically require big deposits or draws throughout the process, but even then, consumers need to be aware.

“If they have taken a deposit, you deserve answers to your questions and documentation. If they will not provide documentation for what they’ve done with your deposit, that should be considered a red flag,” Salmons said.

Todd Ulrich contacted Legacy Pools. Its spokesman said there had been delays because of supply, COVID-19 and subcontractor issues, but every pool under contract will be finished, and managers are working to resolve all complaints. The spokesman also said the company has hundreds of satisfied pool owners, one lawsuit has already been resolved, and the company is here to stay.

Since contacting Action 9, several customers now say Legacy Pools has responded to them with completion plans and they’re now satisfied, including Drakes and McGann.

A pool contract should be paid as you go with a deposit or draw for each phase, from the big dig to putting water in the pool. If possible, add deadlines and avoid requests for another payment until the current phase is done.

Legacy pools has been licensed with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation since 2018. Contact them if you’re having issues with this company or any other licensed contractor.

Legacy Pools response:

Dear Mr. Ulrich,

As you know from our e-mail communications and telephone conference yesterday, I represent Legacy Pools, LLC (“Legacy”). It is my understanding that your office contacted Legacy yesterday to respond to an investigation and complaint issued by a customer and/or customers of Legacy which was going to air today on WFTV. You and your office were kind enough to send over some of the written communications from Legacy’s customers and an outline of the complaint/concerns of a certain Mr. Drakes. Suffice to say, Legacy was surprised upon receipt of your inquiry, but was aware of the concerns and complaints of some of its customers primarily arising from the delay in the completion of their pools. Legacy is in direct contact with its customers (some on a daily basis) but does apologize to you and its customers that they felt the need to obtain your involvement. Obviously, the assurances and communications with Legacy have not quelled their concerns. Admittedly, Legacy has encountered delays in completing pools most of which are related to the pandemic and associated supply-chain issues, or as the result of shortages in materials required for pool construction. Some issues are internal problems within Legacy that the principals are working hard to correct. Legacy has never abandoned a job or pool construction project, never “taken” a customer’s money and not completed the pool. In fact, in some instances, Legacy has agreed to refunds when requested by various customers.

Before addressing Mr. Drakes’ project, it is important to understand Legacy’s brief history. In the years since Legacy began constructing pools (3.5 years), it has completed I believe over 400 pools and has many satisfied customers. Beginning in 2020, Legacy encountered an enormous growth in customers and at the same time began to experience Covid-19 pandemic related problems as did many industries. These problems caused delays in completing pools then under contract and in 2021 as the effects of Covid 19 subsided to some extent, material shortages continued. With that said, admittedly not all problems that customers are complaining about or experience are a result of the pandemic or its after-effects. Legacy is taking steps to complete all pools under contract. In recent months, Legacy’s principals have taken over the customer service/communications aspects of their business directly. Mr. Chad Black, the President of Legacy Pools has also personally returned into the field to oversee construction. Legacy also encountered problems with subcontractors not performing or correcting defective work and demanding payment or threatening to record liens to induce payment, even when the subcontractor’s work was incomplete and/or defective. This caused Legacy to fix the defects directly causing further delays. Legacy’s customer relation problems are exacerbated by competitors publishing false information about Legacy as well as their attempts to lure customers away with assurances of completion of their pools for less than contractually agreed to with Legacy. Social media accounts/forums have also been used by many to publish false and/or intentionally misleading information about their projects and Legacy and its principals. This resulted in otherwise satisfied customers becoming concerned with the completion of their pools and requiring Legacy to spend additional time to ease their concerns. All of these factors have impacted Legacy’s ability to perform. However, Legacy intends to honor all of its obligations to its customers and to continue to construct quality pools. Legacy has no intention of going out of business, filing bankruptcy or walking away as some competitors have rumored.

As for Mr. Drakes’ project, it is late in completion due to the factors set forth above. However, Legacy did not request any payments beyond that required by the contract or due for the stage of construction. Legacy is in contact with Mr. Drakes and he is advised that pavers for his deck have been released by the manufacturer and should be delivered next week. We hope that this fact is mentioned in any reports on Legacy that may air. Further, my understanding is that a formal agreement was recently entered between Mr. Drakes and Legacy regarding the completion of his pool and it is my understanding that Mr. Drakes has or will be retracting his complaint submitted to you and WFTV. Again, in the interest of fundamental fairness, we would respectfully request mention of this development if the report on Legacy airs.

With respect to each customer who formally contacted WFTV due to your investigation, please note that Legacy has been in direct contact with them, daily in some instances. Additionally, surprised by your communications and some of the customer names included, Legacy contacted some of the customers. In some instances, it appears they were unaware that their communications would be used in your investigation and some have retracted their statements. These customers’ pools are in the process of completion and the customers are aware of the estimated time for completion, some as early as next week. Other customers experienced delays due to changes made in their plans after construction began, work that must be completed by owners before Legacy can connect equipment, certain customers’ refusal to pay, changes in decking designs and materials and/or material shortages. In each event, the customer is advised of the impact to the schedule/completion of their pool and some are offered refunds if the estimated time for completion is not satisfactory to them. In our conversation you also mentioned that there were two lawsuits pending in Brevard County, Florida. Please note that one of these lawsuits has already been resolved and Legacy hopes to be able to resolve the other through agreed-upon mediation in the near future.

Todd Ulrich

Todd Ulrich,

I am WFTV's Action 9 Reporter.

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