Pond Squad, A Divison of Aquatic Engineering, Inc. Reviews (1)
I believe I am being cheated by a contractor that, much to my regret, I hired to install a water feature (a pond less water fall) approximately in September/October of 2012. Here is the situation to the best of my memory; approximately in May of 2012 I asked the Pond Squad Company (Pond Squad, Inc. PO Box 3634 La Crosse WI 54602 Phone: [redacted]) to come out and give me an estimate on either rebuilding or replacing my existing water feature because of an algae problem I was having with it. [redacted] who I believe is the owner of Pond Squad came out and looked the site over and discussed several ideas which were all more elaborate and expensive then I wanted. Our last discussion was simply rebuilding the existing water feature for about the same price I paid for it when I first had it installed by another company. I told him I would think about it and get back to him. My first red flag should have been when I received $125.00 bill for water garden site visit, when I called him to come out for a quote he never mentioned charging for this. But I could not find too many contractors in the area that built water features and I called him and said that I would like to rebuild the feature I had at the dollar figure we had talked about and he agreed to do it.
Again to the best of my memory it took a while for him to come back out to take his measurement so I am not sure if it was June or July but he did come back out to survey the site again and he noticed a rock I had in the yard that I have Hens & Chicks (succulent plants) growing on. He asked me if I could get more rocks like this for him to use in the rebuild of the water feature, he mentioned if I supplied the rocks, it would save me money. So I told him I would look around to see how many of these rocks I could come up with. I spent several days but did manage to collect a wagon full and I called him to come out a see if I had enough. A week or two later he came by and said that would be enough. Then he mentioned about removing the existing water feature, again saying the more I do the more money I could save. I spent two weeks completely removing the existing water feature. I then called [redacted] and told him I was ready to have him start. Here again a week or two went by before he was able to stop out again and make sure everything was ready to go. So at this point I had all the rocks collected that he wanted, I had the existing water feature all removed so there was nothing but a three foot hole in the ground where the new water feature would go in.
[redacted] stopped back out to, once again look everything over to make sure it was ready for him to begin, and it was at this point he wrote up and gave me his Pondless Proposal with the price. Yes this is where I learned a valuable lesson about getting a written proposal before any work begins, my mistake. His proposal was for double the amount we talked about, I was shocked I said to him [redacted]; this is twice as much as we discussed? At which point he said he really couldn’t do it for less, again I said [redacted] this is double what we had talked about I am not sure I can go with this, he went over the proposal and said there will be a little savings depending on the electrical and couple other things but basically that is it. I know I should have walked away right then and there (hind sight is 20/20), but it was the end of summer I had three pallets of rocks sitting in the yard along with 15 to 20 buckets of river rocks that I had removed and washed up and a big hole where the other water featured sat and I thought so I really didn’t want that to sit there all winter so I reluctantly agreed once again stating my great dissatisfaction with this surprise price that he came up with. [redacted] said to me trust me Mary if you liked your old water feature you are going to love the new one I build you, I said I better love it at this price.
So with all that said here is where the problem comes in. I paid him half the money before he started and the other half on completion of the water feature as per his proposal. They started the build late in September or early October and it took about three days for him to finish. When it was done we turned it on and it worked but I noticed a leak along the edge where the electrical box was and the water flow was very weak which I didn’t like, he said it didn’t occur to him that he had doubled the water surface from the old one so he would bring me out two different pumps to try and see which one I like the water flow better with and I would just have to pay for the pump (about $500.00) if I decided I liked the way it worked. The pumps didn’t come in right away (or so he told me when I called him) so we agreed to have him come out first thing in spring with the new pumps and install them and patch the leak. Well starting in May I began to email and call [redacted] about when he would be here to install the pump and fix the leak I believe he came out toward the end of May, the water flow was better with this pump but the water falls was still leaking and leaking significantly about 40 gallons in 8 hour. So much so that I could not safely leave the feature on without constantly checking it to make sure it didn’t go below the pump level and the water was pooling right by the electrical box so it wasn’t safe to run. So [redacted] or one of his crew would stop when they had time and spray some foam around where they thought the leak was and I would try it again to see if they stopped the leak, they must have been out here at least 9 or 10 times until one day one of his workers finally found that the liner was folded under and he was able to pull it out between the rocks and stopped that leak, but the water feature was still leaking and loosing water. [redacted] or one of his crew continued to come out and spray more foam where they thought the leak might be coming from, and again we are talking 40 gallons in an 8 hour period. [redacted] told me that he believed this was due to evaporation and water wicking by the rocks, he said that he had never worked with this type of rock before and didn’t know how they would react to which I replied then why would you tell me to use them. He also tried to contend that this 40 gallon per 8 hours was probably no more water than a leaky faucet would use, to which I told him that is why we fix leaky faucet so we don’t waste water. He told me his recommendation would be to install a water keep feature, which basically is hook up running water with a sensor so that your water level will not drop to low, to which I told him that doesn’t fix the leak 40 gallons of water in 8 hours would be environmentally irresponsible to allow that kind of water waste. I also told him that my old water feature would go a week or more before any water was needed to be added. I continued to tell him that this leak was unacceptable and he continued to tell me that he could show me the math on paper that this is a normal amount of water loss due to evaporation and water wicking. I continued to tell him that I wanted it fixed and he sent one of his crew out and they continued foaming around the top portion and did get the leak down to about 20 gallons in an 8 hour period. I then emailed him explaining that his theory on evaporation and water wicking was disproved due to the fact that with addition repairing the leak was reduced. There is still a visible leak in the back and the water falls is still losing 20 some gallons in 8 hours. NOW [redacted] tells me (mind you this is almost a year since he has installed the feature) that we are chasing our tail looking for the leak and he suggested putting in a smaller pump which he thinks might reduce or stop the leak and he is going to be submitting a bill to me for all the times he has come out to fix the leaks in the water falls. The feature has leaked since day one, he never ever mentioned that he would be billing for repairs on defective craftsmanship on his installation, I should mention as of this writing I have not yet been billed. I will also say that I paid him in full for a water feature that I have yet been able to run without constantly being here to watch it to make sure it doesn’t go dry and I can’t run it much because of the water waste that it goes through because of the leak, I also contend that there is a bigger leak that is going to cause erosion and problems down the road if not found and fixed. I should not be responsible to pay for any of the so called repairs since I have never received what I already paid him in full for, which should have been a water falls that doesn’t leak. I also contend that he should either fix the waterfall so it doesn’t leak or refund me part of the money so I can put it toward paying for someone who can fix it properly so it does not leak.
Can you help me with this matter? I do have several of the emails I sent asking him to stop and repair the leaks and I have some pictures that I took though out the building and repair process.
Thank you in advance for any help you might be able to give in this matter and if you do agree with me that I do not own for repairs what is my recourse in this matter. I am so frustrated at this point I wonder if he is not fixing the leaks so he can continue to add money to this bill that he intends to charge me for. Please help!