Matthews pool company being investigated after dozens of customers complain
MATTHEWS, NC (WBTV) - More than 35 people have reached out to WBTV after the Investigates team exposed a Matthews pool company accused of taking customers money but not finishing the work. Two different state agencies are now looking into Charlotte Fiberglass Pools after receiving dozens of complaints from consumers.
There were so many customers that reached out to WBTV we asked them to send in their own video explaining what went wrong.
"I never received any of my pool equipment. none of the electrical none of the plumbing," Dave Lickert said.
"It is very uneven. the pool is not set at the proper level," Tara Helms said.
Charlotte Fiberglass Pools was just one name the company used. Niury Ortiz and her late husband Gabe Ortiz also operated under Bananafish, Modern Backyard and The Great Backyard Place.
Steven Bear worked as a pool and hot tub service manager for The Great Backyard Place in 2017 and spoke with WBTV about his experience there.
"They were looking for somebody that could come in house and actually do service work," Steven Bear said.
Bear showed us copies of service calls from his time there. He says he quit after a month and half when the ortiz’s wouldn’t pay him $3,000 he billed for.
"I was offered $500 or I was basically told I could sue them. That was my offer," Bear said.
But Bear says his biggest concern was the condition of the pools and hot tubs.
"Yeah they sent out defective product or they knew it was defective when they sent it out," Bear said.
He says he was routinely sent to properties where the equipment was broken or installed incorrectly.
"You could see where all the dirt had washed out from underneath and the concrete had cracked because it simply wasn't done right," Bear said.
His claims sound familiar to customers.
"They did not compact the dirt so what happens is my concrete is unstable and my pool is unstable," Adele Hallyburton said.
On a number of sites he claims licensed electricians weren't used. He says for one hot tub the poorly installed electric equipment caused the pump and heater to break. He says Gabe Ortiz ordered him to call the hot tub manufacturer and claim it was struck by lightning.
"They wanted me to go out inspect and claim it as a warranty issue back to hot springs the manufacturer and i refused to do that," Bear said.
Bear says he believes Charlotte Fiberglass Pools customers were often sucked in after paying the deposit.
“So by the time you’re already $20,000 in to a $40,000 pool, what do you do?” Bear said.
“And i think the ortiz’s know how to play that game very well.”
The attorney who has represented Ortiz says that customers with issues can call him at 704-845-6050.
The North Carolina Licensing Board of General Contractors is currently investigating four separate complaints while one is headed to a disciplinary hearing.
The North Carolina Department of Justice has received 19 different complaints about Ortiz managed companies. Their spokesperson said in an email “We have reached out to the company for more information and are reviewing its business practices.”
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