5 On Your Side

Gazebo woes frustrates Hope Mills woman

Dealing with the fallout when your house is hit by a tornado is no doubt stressful, but a Cumberland County woman got everything "put back together” – except for one thing.

Posted Updated

HOPE MILLS, N.C. — Sabrina Villagomez had to replace everything in her back yard, from her grill to her dog pen, after a tornado hit Hope Mills on March 27, 2009.

“It was really scary, really scary,” she said. “Everything was breaking apart, the fence (was) breaking apart, all my furniture … I looked to the back, and I mean I lost it. I just couldn't believe what I was seeing, because I wasn't seeing everything. Everything was gone.”

Villagomez says the one task she thought would be simple – replacing a gazebo around her hot tub that she bought from Fun City Pools and Spas in Charlotte – brought her nothing but frustration.

“It was shattered. It was in pieces,” she said.

Last May, Villagomez said she paid the company about $7,600 for an exact replacement and installation, but when it arrived, it was not exact, and it was smaller than the original.

“It gets stuck like on one side, and then it won't go all the way back,” she said.

Villagomez immediately called Fun City and says she was told she'd have to wait until August until they had more orders.

But August came and went.

“We just kept getting different stories," she said. "Even at one point, they said they had one in the back with our name on it, and someone would call us to schedule a time for them to take this one down and put that one up, and that never happened."

Then, Villagomez says, Fun City stopped returning her calls.

“It frustrates me that I have to go through this length to get something that I've already paid for,” she said.

Fun City Pools & Spas has a C-minus rating with the Better Business Bureau.

After 5 on Your Side called several times, a representative called Villagomez to say the company that manufactured her gazebo had shut down. The representative sent pictures of other gazebos he has, but none were comparable to what she had.

What Villagomez wants is simple.

“I just want either my money back, so I can go locally and buy a gazebo here that we like, or either something that's comparable to this replaced,” she said.

After more attempts to contact Fun City, 5 On Your Side finally got a call back after telling the company that a story was about to run on TV.

General Manager Forest Alderman first said that sending a refund to Villagomez would not be a problem at all, but he later said he had to check with the owner, Steve Harold.



Monica Laliberte, Reporter
David McCorkle, Photographer
Lori Lair, Producer
Kelly Hinchcliffe, Web Editor

Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.