HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - It’s been nearly a year since Horry County resident Kimberly Dailey hired Clear Waters Pools, but her backyard is far from what she envisioned when she signed a contract in June 2018.
“It’s disappointing walking out there,” Dailey said. “You step on the soil and every step you make another layer stick to your shoe.”
Her backyard is covered in piles of dirt and in the middle sits a pool shell that sticks two inches above the ground. Instead of glistening water, the shell is filled with murky water layered with debris.
Dailey moved from Connecticut last year and finally decided to get the inground pool she’s always wanted.
She interviewed multiple companies and did research before hiring Brandon Colton with Clear Waters Pools.
Dailey paid Colton $7,900 when she signed the contract and anther $32,000 when the pool shell was delivered.
“They dug the hole and the next day it was being filled and all the dirt was around it,” Dailey remembers. “It looked great. It was ready.”
Since then, it’s been one thing after another.
Dailey said Colton initially told her the project would take three weeks. Later, he said eight weeks. Now, 10 months later, she is still waiting for the equipment, tiles and concrete finish.
“I’ve been told three times, ‘Alright, they’re coming out to do the cement,’” she said.
Dailey said while Colton has been to her house multiple times and continues to communicate, she doesn’t think he will ever finish the project.
“I think the best of people,” she said. “I want to believe the best in people but enough is enough. He’s had enough time.”
Colton told WMBF that he couldn’t say much because he hired an attorney, but he has a “good faith company.”
Last week, Dailey received a letter from Colton’s attorney at Coastal Law. The letter listed several issues including weather delays, project deadline changes and a family member/friend working on the pool project “which caused damage and delayed completing the project.”
Dailey said the friend who caused the damage was actually an employee of Clear Waters Pools at the time.
WMBF reached out to the law firm but has not heard back.
Dailey isn’t the first client to be left without a completed project.
Loris residents Eric and Cassie Barczak have a pending civil case against Colton in the Horry County courts.
Cassie Barczak said they hired Clear Waters Pools in August 2017. She said he insisted on receiving the $50,000 for the contract and pool shell in cash.
After the payments, Barczak described an experience similar to Dailey’s.
Barczak said during the project there was a lack of communication and Colton often didn’t show up or work for more than a few hours at a time.
“He says it was our fault or that it was not their fault. It was either weather related or our issue or something that we caused the delays in the job getting completed,” she said, recalling Colton’s excuses. “He basically put everything on us as if we were the ones who delayed it or, you know, stopped it from being completed.”
She admitted some disagreements arose between them and Colton because he didn’t like when they inquired about the job.
“When I asked him how there was animosity, he basically said it was when my husband would ask him questions,” Barczak said.
By the end of October 2017, Colton sent them a letter terminating their contract, along with a $7,600 check.
The Barczaks estimate Colton still owes them around $28,000.
She added they later found out Colton didn’t have an active business license with the county.
On Wednesday, Horry County officials said they still do not have an active license on file for Colton. Officials confirmed that he has not had a license since 2016. The county does have a license for company with a similar name, Clear Water Pool, but the license is for a different owner and address.
Colton’s business is Clear Waters Pools.
This past December, Eric Barczak represented himself in front of a judge to seek a $7,500 judgement against Colton.
“We made the decision to not hire an attorney when we took him to magistrate court because we felt like we had already lost so much money,” Cassie Barczak said. “We just financially couldn’t afford at the time to try to get the pool fixed and to try to file an attorney.”
The outcome of that case is still pending.
WMBF reached out to Colton’s lawyer on that case but has not heard back.
Barczak cautions others to really do their homework and run a background check before hiring a business.
While the Barczaks decided to invest more to get their pool finished, Dailey said she doesn’t know if her dream pool will ever become a reality.
“I don’t have the money. I gave him everything I had,” Dailey said.