FORT MYERS, FL — There should be a pool behind the Halls' Fort Myers home, but the family say what started as a way to break out of quarantine boredom, soon turned into a pandemic headache.
"We were looking for a way to provide that escape to the kids and they like swimming," said Luke Hall, "We researched a few pool contractors and then the one that we ended up landing on was actually a referral from a trusted source."
The Halls say they did their homework on the company they were referred to.
"Checked out the company name, the license, the insurance, everything was up to date,"he said.
And they said they trusted that the man claiming to represent the company was just as upstanding as the company's reviews, but soon they started to see red flags.
"He had us write the check out to a DBA, a different company than what was the main company on the contract," Hall said.
The Halls say shortly after that, the contractor's attitude changed. He was rude and not as responsive, and continued to push back construction dates.
That's when the Halls decided to dig deeper into the man himself and they say they found some shocking things, including this:
"There was no legal connection with him and the company that he was representing," he said.
It's a scenario that the Community Development Director for Charlotte county says is rare, but possible.
"There are a lot of people out there that want to take advantage of people," said Ben Bailey.
Bailey adds that your county building department won't have access to employee files for each registered contractor or business, but here's what you can do to protect yourself:
"Ask the contractor who will be doing the work at their house, get some names, ask whether or not they're an actual employee or sub-contractor," he said.
Once you have the information you can run your own background checks from there.
"One thing we forget to check is 'Hey is that person I actually met with, are they legally connected to that company?' and if they're not, you may want to pump the brakes," said Luke Hall.
The Halls were able to get their money back, though at first they say the contractor tried to keep half.