Homeowners who put money towards 8,000 pool claim they were fooled

Homeowners who put money towards $128,000 pool claim they were fooled

MORRISON, Tenn. (WTVF) — A mid-state family that broke ground on their six-figure pool project in September still doesn’t have a pool they can swim in.

Not only is their pool not finished, the family believes they were also fooled.

At this point and more than $100,000 into the project, they have a pool shell in the ground in their backyard, however, there are major cracks and other concerns with the structure.

“I didn’t do enough homework on them, but what they provided looked very good, and come to find out this was their first pool in this structure,” said the Coffee County homeowner.

The homeowner’s construction contract was with Pools by SJ. According to them, Sandy Jenkins with Pools by SJ agreed to complete the construction of a 20-foot by 48-foot pool within 60 days for $128,790. Apparently, Jenkins also told the homeowners she was a contractor with experience building pools.

According to the database available through the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, neither turns out to be true.

“I let my guard down,” the homeowner said.

The homeowner asked me not to use his name in my reporting. He’s a bit embarrassed about the situation and his family lives in a small community. I understand.

“Do your homework on contractors. Do your homework on individuals that say they are contractors. Check with the Tennessee Licensing Board. Check with the state contracting boards,” he said.

There’s also another layer to the struggle the family is in.

While Pools by SJ shows up on all the paperwork, from time to time so does Gateway Builders. That is a licensed construction firm. It is owned by Sandy Jenkins’s husband.

The homeowner is working with a lawyer to sort everything out and get his money back.

“We’re just going to trust the legal system to help us rectify this,” the homeowner said.

The homeowners plan to sue Sandy Jenkins for misrepresenting her licensure and capabilities.

In a brief conversation, Sandy Jenkins told NewsChannel 5 she did not misrepresent her credentials.

The state provided us with these tips for consumers who want to do business with contractors.

  • Consumers should remember that Tennessee’s felony theft law covers consumers whenever a contractor takes money and fails to perform work within 90 days. Pursuant to T.C.A. § 39-14-105, consumers may contact local law enforcement and file charges to prosecute the contractor for theft. 
  • Consumers can check the complaint and disciplinary history of a contractor by contacting the Board for Licensing Contractors by phone at (800) 544-7693 or (615) 741-8307 or emailing our team at [email protected]
  • Before hiring a professional, consumers should first visit TDCI’s Verify licensing database (search.cloud.commerce.tn.gov) in order to verify that the individual is properly licensed to work in Tennessee. The status of a professional’s license, how long the individual or company has been licensed, when their license expires, and additional helpful information can all be found at Verify.
  • In Tennessee, a contractor’s license is required before bidding or price negotiations when the total cost of the project is $25,000 or more.
  • For work less than $25,000, consumers should check with their local government’s  building codes office (mtas.tennessee.edu) to confirm whether a contractor needs a state license or local license to perform home improvement, electrical, plumbing or HVAC work, as well as their permit requirements for inspections.
  • Get several bids and check references before committing to a contractor.
  • Be wary of contractors selling repairs door-to-door, especially when they ask to receive payment upfront or offer deep discounts.
  • Generally, do not pay more than 1/3 of the cost of a project upfront. Make sure you have the terms of payment in writing.

She’s in her 80’s and legally blind. Franklin woman continues to crochet for those in need

“Here’s a great story that proves everyone has something to give, regardless of age OR personal challenges. Our Austin Pollack introduces us to Ms Sylvia Mooney. At age 80, she’s not sitting still. Instead, she using her skills to craft compassion for others… one stitch at a time. Her crochet creations go to non-profits to help our homeless neighbors. You’ll be surprised to learn she does it all, while facing a serious health issue. Bravo Sylvia!”

-Rhori Johnston