Pool company leaves one New Jersey family soaking

Seven On Your Side
August 2, 2013 2:47:30 PM PDT
No ground was ever broken on the planned pool, and then a refund promise has turned into 2 rubber checks and plenty of broken promises.

"I just think it's wrong," Joseph Grato said.

You can't blame the Grato family for being overheated. They should've been splashing around in a pool months ago.

Instead of a 37 by 16 water oasis, they still have a backyard of costly broken dreams.

The Gratos say they paid $16,000 to have the pool built by Water World Fiberglass Pools, a South Jersey business that boasts itself as third generation pool installers. Water World was supposed to measure the back yard to start the permitting process with the town.

"They didn't do one thing," Grato said.

Turns out Water World missed a 20 foot setback, meaning their pool edge can't be within 20 feet of the property line. That would make the pool impossible to fit without a town variance, and the town of Paramus said no go.

"It can take up to two or three months (to get a variance)," Grato said, so he wanted their money back.

It's in black and white on the contract: "deposit 100 percent refundable." But the refund Water World issued bounced. A month later another replacement check turned rubber too.

"I said, 'this isn't good,'" Grato said.

So we called Water World and the owner promised payment, but when that didn't happen, we went to the office.

An office manager said the owners were all out doing other pool projects and she couldn't help, but days after we left and after a dozen more calls from us, Water World finally wired a full refund.

"You guys rock. This is awesome," Anthony Grato said.

The saving grace for the Gratos was having that refund policy in writing on a signed contract.

The owner of Water World said he couldn't pay earlier because business had been hurting because all the rain this year. As for the Gratos, they'll start applying for a variance with the town and hope to have a pool by Labor Day.