IRON STATION, NC (WBTV) - Officials with the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors say they are prepared to investigate a pool contractor and shut down his business after an On Your Side investigation.
Ricky and Amy Walker called On Your Side Investigates for help after they paid more than $30,000 for a pool to be built in November.
Six months later, the contractor had their money, but their pool was still just a concrete-covered hole in the ground.
The Walkers called Backyard Pool & Spa after seeing positive reviews and hearing good things about his work.
"Everything seemed on the up and up," Ricky Walker said. "Everything seemed well."
Bank records show the Walkers paid Backyard Pool & Spa as the project progressed, starting with a $1,000 payment in November and a $7,200 payment in December.
The Walkers would eventually pay a total of $32,407 through mid-May. Ricky Walker said he knows now that was a mistake.
"I would have had the contract written different where it would have been [paid] upon completion and satisfactory completion before you make your payment," he said.
When On Your Side Investigates called Backyard Pool & Spa, owner Trey Turner said the delay was due to problems with the pool's concrete deck.
The pool was finished the week after we first called.
But Turner now admits his company made a mistake in selling a pool that cost more than $30,000.
State law requires contractors who build projects worth $30,000 or more to have a general contractor's license.
Neither Turner nor his company have such a license.
When On Your Side Investigates asked Turner why he was signing contracts for pools worth more than $30,000 without a general contractor's license he blamed it on a clerical error.
"We realize we did make a mistake and we're willing to meet with you and own up to it," Turner said in a recent interview. "We offered to give the client a refund of [the amount of $30,000] if that would help the legality of the situation.
But Turner could not explain why he signed a contract for an amount over the $30,000 and then pull a permit for a lesser amount - under the limit - three days later.
Building permits provided by the Lincoln County Planning & Inspections Department show Turner listed the value of the Walker's pool at $29,900; just $100 dollars below the state limit for contractor's without a license.
Turner blamed the discrepancy on changes to the project.
"I don't remember the exact timeline but there were several reductions and additions made," Turner said when asked why he listed a lower amount on the building permit three days after signing a contract with the Walkers.
The Walkers said they wished their pool would have been done months ago.
"After six months of waiting to get a finished project, with this many beautiful days that we've had the last couple of weeks, it's just disheartening," Ricky Walker said.
If you think you are the victim of a contractor operating without a license or one who is licensed but did not complete a job, you can contact the NC Licensing Board of General Contractors and file a complaint.