I have to start off by saying that this was the worst experience I have ever had with a contractor. Buying a pool should be a happy experience but mine was horrific. I signed a contract with A.J. Phillips – owner of Backyard Solutions on August 1st. He was supposed to start my pool by September 2nd and stated that it would take about 2 to 3 weeks to complete. We knew going in that we wouldn’t be able to swim this year but I wanted it done so we could open it early spring. When I hadn’t heard from him by September 8th I started texting him as he wouldn’t answer his phone. He did not call me until September 16th. He finally started to dig on September 30th. Without going into all the details – as there are way too many – I can say that I have paid $36,500 and it is now a week before Christmas and I have a hole with walls in my backyard, there is no liner in my pool, the equipment is partially installed and I have no fence. The fence was part of my contract & I have a text from AJ saying it was ordered on October 15th but he has not delivered or installed it. However, after continuous demands from me he tried a few weeks ago to replace the originally agreed upon 4-foot fence with a 3-foot of cheaper value. When I wouldn’t agree to that he stopped answering my texts regarding a fence. Also, it took repeated threats & a personal visit to his so-called place of business to get my filter, pump, heater, ladder, & pool covers delivered. Even though I paid for them on August 14th they weren’t delivered until after November 24th (not sure the exact date). AJ is a great salesman. He will impress you with his pool knowledge & tell you that once you buy a pool from him you will be ‘in the family’ and he will always take care of you. But, he is the worst businessman I have ever met. He will not return your calls. His voicemail is always full. You can text him but don’t expect a response. In fact, I have over 20 texts where he said he would contact me later but didn’t. There were many days/weeks where he didn’t even show up and when I finally was able to talk to him there was always an excuse – weather, someone died, someone was sick, his phone broke or died, his dog was sick, etc. The ONLY time he ever showed up as scheduled was when I was writing him a check and it was usually cashed within an hour. Backyard Solutions advertises that their business is on Alum Creek Drive but if you call or stop by you will find a completely separate operation – Pool Mart Plus. He has an impressive website but if you call the number listed on the site you will find it is not for Backyard Solutions. There have been so many unfulfilled promises – too numerous to list – but one in particular I reluctantly paid him $9000 on October 17th for my ‘liner drop’ as he said it would be delivered & installed on October 20th. As of today I don’t have a liner in my pool. He finally delivered one on December 5th (for which I made another $3000 payment) but after we gave him the check & opened the box we discovered it was for an above ground pool. He claims it was an honest mistake but after repeated texts from me I was finally able to pick up my liner on December 15th – 10 days after I wrote the check. He did pour a nice patio; however, his check for $1500 to the concrete company bounced & they came out to my house & said that if he didn’t make it good they would put a lien on my house. I talked to them a few days ago & they said they haven’t been able to get in touch with him so I will probably have to cover that check to protect my house. To summarize, it has been 5 months since I signed my contract and I now have to find another company to finish my pool and install a fence. There is a post on the BBB’s website dated 12/15/14 and I can completely relate to everything that was stated. In that post it says they ran into AJ at a gas station on November 15th and asked why he hadn’t contacted them and he told them that his grandfather had died but I have a text from AJ on that same date that said he was spreading salt and that was why he couldn’t return my calls. I wouldn’t recommend this company to anyone – even if he said he would do it for half-price. It is not worth enduring the disrespect he shows to his customers or having to listen to excuse after excuse. Once I determine how much it will cost me to complete what was agreed upon in my contract I plan to file with the BBB, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and my attorney and hopefully get a refund for the services/products that I have paid for & not received. I also plan to contact the Home & Garden Show as that is where I first met him. I caution anyone who is considering doing business with Backyard Solutions or AJ Phillips to do your homework. As of this writing there are numerous complaint with the BBB and four with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. I wish I had not been so trusting. And finally, if he offers to give you a referral make sure it was someone who did business with him in 2014 as that is when it appears the complaint started. Beware – great salesman – extensive pool knowledge – horrific customer service.
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