Spring – Our KPRC 2 Investigation Team is always working to find answers to your problems. One of the most popular Complaints we receive on our tip line are from people who have a problem with the contractors they hire to work from their homes. Investigator Bill Spencer is known for tracking some of these contractors.
He is now hunting for a man who allegedly took money from families in the Spring and Conroe area without getting the job done. Plus, our team of Investigators will explain three things you should do before hiring any contractor for your home.
Patrick Brice and his wife Tenille do their homework. They researched contractors before hiring one to build the pool. But in the end they still lost tens of thousands of dollars. They worked hard and saved for their home in the spring and have always been proud of it. Last April, they decided to complete their dream home by adding an in-ground fiberglass pool. Total cost: $45,900.
A backyard paradise, just in time to celebrate their son’s enlistment in the US Navy.
“I told him our son was moving to the Navy and we wanted him by July 4th. We were going to have a big party,” said Tenille Nosworthy-Brice.
“It was a very big deal, maybe not for the house, it was the biggest sale we had ever made,” Brice said.
Contractor keeps asking for more money
After interviewing three different pool contractors, Brice’s decided to hire Darren Mathew Cook, owner of Epic Fiberglass Pools.
“We went with Darren because he was really the cheapest of the three, lesson learned, you never go with the lowest estimate, do you?” Brice said.
His estimate is about $10,000 cheaper than the rest. Despite the lower price, Tenille and Patrick say Cook demanded a payment of $22,900, almost half the cost of the job. They said he then demanded an additional $11,000 on the first day the workers dug a giant hole.
“We paid him a little over $34,000 in total,” Brice said.
Jada England, a single mother from Conroe, said she paid Darren Cook $50,000 for this fiberglass pool as a Christmas present for her two children. More than a year later, she’s paying tens of thousands of dollars more for other contractors to get the job done.
“The pool I paid for was not the one I had,” he said. “The actual shell is not flat, it has a lot of damage to it. So basically, I pay for everything twice, because I paid him and then I paid someone else.”
Pool contractor arrested and charged with felony burglary
Now, after months of investigation, Cook has been formally charged with 2nd degree felony burglary, for defrauding multiple families out of more than $150,000.
“He started the job, left a big hole in their backyard and tried to disappear,” said Constable Mark Herman, Harris County, District 4.
The alleged victims told investigators that Cook “presented himself as a professional, a devoted father, and a devoted Christian.”
Investigators believe there may have been other people who hired Cook and left with the job unfinished.
Herman Darren Cook said his next court appearance will be next month and he expects more lawsuits to be filed by then.
You can contact investigators by calling (281) 376-3472 or by Online.
3 steps to take before hiring a pool contractor
Epic Fiberglass Pools Available Rated F by the Better Business Bureau.
Consumer watchdog Leah Napoliello (with Better Business Division) has three steps you need to take to prevent this from happening to you.
Before hiring anyone, check to see if the company has been rated by Better Sales.
Ask for 4 other customers the company has completed work on, then call or visit those customers to provide the feed again.
Follow the “rule of thirds” when it comes to payments.
Leah Napoliello, Greater Houston and South Texas Better Business Division, explains: “So you pay the initial Tuesday upfront, before the initial work is completed. “Another third at the halfway point if you are still satisfied with everything and then a final third only if and after you have fully considered the work and are satisfied and satisfied with everything.”
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