Island Recreational — the worst business practice that I have ever seen
I purchased a pool from Island Recreational, 61 E. Sunrise Highway, and Lindenhurst, NY 11757. They required a $100 deposit to hold the price which I have paid by check and they also required you to join their VIP Shoppers Club Agreement for $100 which is applied to this VIP 'club' which was paid by MC. Also on April 5, I was required to pay the pool in full in the amount of $4720.78 which I paid with my MC. This price including their 'White Glove Installation' which is a 3rd party company they use to install and weekly maintenance of the pool. We were then told 'We use this company to avoid installation problems.'. I asked why the pool could not be delivered sooner since I came in with a newspaper ad that said 'Memorial Day Installation' but I was told because we were having a fence and deck included, that could not be done by Memorial Day.
On approximately April 21, 2006 they sent a site inspector to our home to look at the yard and provided a delivery date of May 30 and install date of June 15, 2006. At that time, we were provided the Atlas Site Survey (attached) with delivery date of May 30 and the installation date of June 15.
On approximately June 5, we were called at our home and told we MUST come to the store and pay upfront for the sand for the bottom of the pool or scheduling will be delayed. We went to the store on June 6 and paid $65.17 with MC. We were told that the sand would be delivered the day before the pool installation, therefore on June 14. My husband waited for six hours for them to come with the sand to our home. We received no sand or no phone call to say that the sand was not being delivered. My husband then called their ONLY number [protected] for all their stores and after being hold for close to 40 minutes they said 'we called your home earlier today to inform you that your installation date has been cancelled.' The only call we got on that day which my father in law took while my husband went to get our children at school said 'Are Ben or Donna home?' My father in law said 'No' and they said 'Ok, we'll call the cell number we have.' They never said who was calling, what firm or what it was regarding. Only after process of elimination we assumed that the caller must have been Island Recreational. We never received a call on our cell....we have the cell phone records to show we received no call.
Additionally, their 'White Glove' workers have been at our home two times to clean the pool and said 'oh we're not surprised to see no pool installed, we see this all the time. This is very typical.'
I went to the store the weekend of June 17 to ask why 1) we had not been called and 2) why the installation had been delayed. I was told 'we called, we left a message' and due to the weather dates were pushed back.
Since the policy is a customer can have a cash refund if it is less than 60 days from the date of the delivery of the pool, I requested they pick up their pool and issue me a refund. The pool was delivered in our driveway on May 30 and sits the way they left in the driveway and we covered it with a tarp.
I went directly to the Lindenhurst store on Sunday, June 25 to get the refund in writing. 1) They do not provide the customer with anything in writing to get a refund. The filled out an internal form to get a pick up date and indicated it would probably be next week sometime maybe the end of the week of June 30 maybe the following week. and said I will be called tomorrow (Monday, June 26) with the exact date. I indicated that those dates were not acceptable because I need my refund to buy a pool from a different company. At 8:00 p.m. on June 26, when I had not heard from them about a pick up date, I called their only number and was told the 'store' had to provide a date not the 'main office' but they said the store would call me in a few moments. Sure enough, two minutes later, 'Tom' called to say the only date was next week probably Tuesday but I said that was not acceptable and I wanted a date this week. Also Tuesday, would be July 4 and I assume no one would work on that date. We've not heard back from them yet on a delivery date.
I called yet again tonight at 8:45 p.m. was put on hold and when a woman answered and I told her my whole story, she said 'oh you don't have installation let me transfer you.' At that point , I was put back into their answering service and put on hold waiting for installation'suddenly at 9:00 a recording came on to say 'the store was closed and I would have to call back.'
At this point, I want the 3 charges of $100, $65.17 and $4720.78 disputed until this is resolved to my satisfaction. To have to wait 4 months from the time they charged my account for this pool and the date of installation to come and go, I want a refund. I no longer feel this is an acceptable business practice and I should have been given a date of pickup 1) either in the store on Sunday, June 25 or 2) received the call on Monday, June 26 as they indicated.
Lastly, what I should have done first was check with the Better Business Bureau, as they have 76 complaints from customer all with similar complaints. This seems to be their regular business practice. I also have spoken to several people who had problems that were similar but some of the pools sat in their yards for more than 60 days and could not get a refund so they had to wait almost an entire summer before their pools were installed. I do not want to wait until the summer is over which is why we purchased our pool in April, plenty of time for delivery and installation.
This is by far the worst business practice that I've seen and they are allowed to operate this way.