Monday, August 1, 2011
Help Me Howard: Pool & Complaints
If you got your job right 99.999 percent of the time, you would probably be happy, but not one South Florida pool builder who says two customers complained about him 10 years ago, but the State won't tell him who the complainers were, is that legal? It's why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- If you have a pool in your backyard, there is a good chance it was built by Custom Pools.
Irv Chazen, Custom Pools: "Since 1964 we have built over 7,000."
Think about that.
Irv Chazen: "This one is Key Largo, Millionaires Row, with a cave behind the waterfall. Palm Island, these are the cruise ships."
Over the past 47 years Irv says his company has designed and built 7,000 pools.
Irv Chazen: "We created a rope bridge that looks like it's a jungle bridge."
Irv and his team are not just builders they are cutting edge builders.
Irv Chazen: "By designing these pools with no drains we eliminate the possibility of entrapment. We are going to be innovators, eventually everybody is gonna pick up on us."
A long career, a rewarding career.
Irv Chazen: "The satisfaction I get when I go back to see the families enjoying the pool that we built."
But the day we talked to Irv he was a little irritated.
Irv Chazen: "Over the past 46 years we have two complaints out of 7,000 pools. We can't get the State to make a disclosure to tell us what those two complaints are."
Two out of 7,000 customers were not happy and complained to Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The name of the two customers, Irv has no idea..
Irv Chazen: "So, what the State is telling us is that they cannot divulge any information. They have given us a lot of mumbo jumbo. They have stonewalled us."
One complaint was filed in 1999, the other in 2001. Not knowing who those customers were and what they were complaining about is driving Irv crazy.
Irv Chazen: "This has irked me for a number of years. The fact that we have blemishes on our record. It's the fact that we have complaints that we are not given the opportunity to resolve."
There is another reason Irv wants the 10 year old complaints resolved, some of his competitors use them against him.
Irv Chazen: "'Oh Custom Pools, oh they have complaints against them.' They don't disclose the number, nor do they disclose to the customer the fact that we have over 7000 pools."
Of course those competitors also don't disclose they have many more complaints against them, but Irv doesn't care about his competitors integrity, he's concerned about his reputation..
Patrick Fraser: "Is that just the bottom line, it gnaws at you?"
Irv Chazen: "That's the bottom line, you pretty much described it."
Now, if I did 7,000 Help Me Howard's and helped everyone except two people I would be satisfied, not Irv.
Patrick Fraser: "What's it like to have 7,000 happy customers out there?"
Irv Chazen: "We are looking for 7002."
Well Howard, in court you are allowed to face your accuser, so if a customer accuses you of something, do you have a right to know who it is.
Howard Finkelstein: "If it is a silly complaint no one will ever know because it will be tossed in the garbage. However, if it's a complaint that the State investigates, then you absolutely have a right to know who filed the complaint and what they are complaining about. In other words, Irv should have been notified 10 years ago about the complaints."
It took three phone calls for us to get a copy of the only two complaints filed against Custom Pools. Irv was surprised to see who the two customers were and it's understandable. In both cases, the State reported that the cases were dismissed because the complaints were resolved. The complaints have been sitting there for 10 years. I then asked how much longer they would be there and was told, 'We permanently maintain records in our system.'
Howard Finkelstein: "If someone files a complaint against you, you have a right to file a response, and Irv can demand that it be put in the State file, although in his case the State took his side and dismissed the complaint."
Irv Chazen: "These are awards we have won competition with other pool companies."
Irv can now get back to work 'cause he says his work will never end
Irv Chazen: "I choose not to retire because I don't know what I would do with my time."
You kind of get the feeling the guy likes to build pools. Now, if someone files a complaint against you, the State should notify you when they do deal with it and file a response 'cause your competitors could use that complaint against you for years.
Troubles left you feeling all wet? Ready to build a concrete solution? Let us skim through the issue. We won't solve 7,000 in a row, but hopefully we will get yours resolved.