'I got ripped off': LaSalle pool company angers customers
WINDSOR, ONT. -- A LaSalle pool company is closing for good and customers are left wondering if they will ever get their pools or their money back.
Owner of LA Pools Dan Boow admits he struggled prior to the pandemic, but blames COVID-19 for putting him out of business.
He says the pandemic stripped him of the money he needed to pay his rent and he was evicted. At least two of customers say COVID-19 has nothing to do with the situation.
Two families paid thousands of dollars last year to have a pool put in by LA Pools.
The doors are now closed, the business shut down and there's no sign of their pool or their money.
“I want to cry every day, every time when I come out, it’s a reminder, every day, that I got ripped off,” says Jennifer Pedro.
Pedro says she paid $4,200 last fall to have a pool put in this April.
“Excuse after excuse, oh this and that and finally I asked him ‘you know what just show me proof that you ordered my pool’ and that’s when his story changed to I need to contact a different supplier.”
Pedro voiced her frustration on social media and found she wasn't alone.
“I feel like a fool, it’s a little comforting knowing that I'm not the only fool,” says Lisa Steed.
Lisa Steed paid $8,000 in May of 2019 for a pool, and says she started facing delays last year.
“At the end of August he told me his installer broke his leg, and I was supposed to be first in April this year,” says Steed.
April came and went with no pool and no refund. Steed went to the store and found it empty.
“I did get behind, a little bit on my rent,” says Boow.
Boow admits he owes his landlord five months rent, falling behind when the pool business slowed down in the winter.
He says he couldn't open in March because of COVID-19.
Boow says he's been a tenant for 19 years and missed rent before, but his landlord was flexible in the past.
“Unfortunately this year, that didn't happen,” says Boow.
The landlord Anna Czernyu declined an on-camera interview but tells CTV News she was too lenient on Boow as a tenant and had enough in March, so she evicted him.
“Now I find out, everything’s' gone, apparently everything’s' been sold, my inventory is gone,” says Boow.
Boow acknowledges he owes Steed and Pedro their money or their pool.
Neither one will be easy to fulfill and he blames the pandemic.
“A lot of the pools, they're only running at 40 per cent capacity, so everything’s backed up,” says Boow.
Now that his business is closed and he has no income, Boow says he's going to have to try to get a bank loan.
“I feel bad for my customers, I really do, but I will take care of them,” says Boow. “It’s just going to take some time.”
Steed and Pedro are losing patience.
“I wanted to trust a small business, I wanted to trust a local business,” says Pedro.
Steed says she has hired a lawyer, who has sent a letter to LA Pools, asking for compensation.
“Sell your house, sell your car, sell your belongings, whatever you have to do to pay people back,” says Steed.
Steed says the lawyer has also advised her that the only recourse is small claims court, where it might cost more than $8,000 to fight.