5 On Your Side

Troubled Pool Installations Lead Woman To Five On Your Side

Posted August 2, 2006
Updated November 10, 2006

— It takes about a second outside to make jumping in a pool sound really good, but getting a pool installed sometimes isn't as easy as it sounds.

A Durham County woman who found that out the hard way called Five On Your Side for help.

  • On The Web :

    North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors

  • Juanita Fisher said a brochure sold her on the idea of buying her pool.

    "(The salesman) showed me these pictures of this beautiful pool that was landscaped, and it was what I really wanted," Fisher said. "It was my dream for a pool."

    So, about two years ago, to make her dream come true, Fisher hired Lou Tufillaro and his company, Dreambuilders, and paid $38,450 up front for a fiberglass pool.

    It took four months and four installations, because after two of the tries, water got underneath the pool and it floated out.

    "I cried. It had already been so long and I was frustrated," Fisher said. "Nothing seemed to be working, and I come home and the pool's floating."

    So, Fisher said, Tufillaro installed a pump system.

    But that did not fix her problems. Holes for the sump pump and skimmer were cut but left open. Fisher said, also, that when it rains, the main pump floods.

    "The pump sits so low you can't get to the pump to turn off the water or turn on the water over here" she said.

    She also never got the fiber optic lights for which she paid $1,200.

    "It's very frustrating to know that you spent that much money on something that still has these issues," Fisher said.

    Fisher said she left repeated messages for Tufillaro and even hired an attorney, but could not get things resolved. So, she called Five on Your Side.

    Tufillaro told WRAL that Fisher's pool was a "challenge" but said he thought everything was fine now.

    He claimed he has not heard from Fisher in a year, even though her records show she left messages through April.

    After weeks of back-and-forth and broken promises of a refund, Tufillaro finally replaced a pump valve, dug out around the pump, put caps on the open holes and sent her a $1,200 check to cover the lights.

    Fisher said she just feels at this point, it is really "too little, too late."

    "If I'd have had to do it over again knowing what I know now, I would have never done it," she said.

    At this point, Fisher said she just wants Tufillaro to talk to her, explain what has been done and tell her what she needs to do to make everything work properly.

    He has promised to do that, but, so far, has not.

    Five on Your Side found out that when Tufillaro built Fisher's pool, he was not licensed. In North Carolina, a contractor has to be licensed with the

    North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors

    to do any job that totals more than $30,000.

    Tufillaro is now licensed.

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