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Our inground pool is defective. What can we do next?

Buffalo, NY |

Back in May of this year, my wife and I had an dark blue inground fiberglass pool with installed in my back yard.
A few weeks after it was put in and before we had the concrete deck poured, we noticed that the steps were whitening. Called manufacturer, Viking Pools, and asked for a new pool. They said that under "their" warranty guideleines, we needed to give them a chance to repair it and that in order to repair it, that they needed us to pour the concrete deck to lock in the pool, so they could drain it and attempt a repair. They attepted to repair it ...twice... since, and it now looks worse than it did originally. We asked for a new pool and corresponding concrete deck, and they have refused. What can we do next?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Now that they had you pour the concrete, they have you "committed" to that pool more than ever and I'm not sure that was really necessary for them to repair it. An experienced pool installer can probably tell you for sure. Your next move? See a local Consumer Law lawyer for help, that's your best bet. The company has been failing to get the job done and maybe a letter (or more) from a lawyer will get it done. For a modest fee for the lawyer's time, it would be worth it. Meanwhile, here's some general rules. It sounds like you think the manufacturer should take care of the defects for you. I agree, they should. But the real question is whether or not they have to do that because if not, then there may be nothing you can do to make them do it or to pay for it. If the manufacturer is not required to do anything for you, then you may be stuck. In a sale of new merchandise (like a pool or a computer or sofa or whatever), your legal rights are mostly determined by the warranty you get. Look on your sales paperwork to see if the manufacturer gave you any kind of warranty or guarantee or right to cancel the deal. If so, then that may be binding on both you and the manufacturer. When you bought it can matter too. If you bought it very recently, then you may have more legal rights (again, depending on your paperwork and what representations were made to you when you bought it). But that’s still not the end of it. The next question is did you get an implied warranty. Most states have a law that says that if the seller does not “conspicuously disclaim” what the law calls “implied warranties” then you automatically get them and usually they last 4 years. You have to look at your sales paperwork to see what it says. There are two implied warranties that can exist. One is called “merchantability” and the other is called “fitness for use.” The implied warranty of merchantability happens automatically in a sale if the seller is a merchant who routinely sells that type of merchandise. An implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose only arises when the seller has reason to know any the purpose that you are buying the merchandise for and that you are relying on the seller's skill or judgment to select or furnish suitable goods for your purpose. Merchantability means that the product is fit for the ordinary purposes that such a product is used for. If you got any kind of warranty at all, and there is something defective with the merchandise, then before you can take any legal action most states require the buyer to notify the seller and give the seller a reasonable chance to fix whatever is wrong with the merchandise. If the problem is covered by their warranty then the seller is obligated to fix the problem within a reasonable amount of time and within a reasonable number of chances (both). If the seller fails, then that is a breach of the warranty. If the merchandise is still substantially in the same condition that it was when the buyer got it, then the buyer may have the legal right to cancel the sale. If not, then the buyer still can recover damages. In most states, that can be the cost of repair or the difference in value (the value of good merchandise compared with value of defective merchandise). So what do you do? Complain first, sue later. Depending on the amount at stake, you may be able to use your local small claims court. All of this can be confusing. The only way to know for sure what you can do is to talk to a local Consumer Law attorney - they handle cases like this. You can find a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers at this link (http://www.USLemonLawyers.com) and find one near you (lawyers don’t pay to get listed here and most of them are members of the only national group of Consumer Law lawyers, NACA.net). If this answer was helpful, please give it a Vote Up review below. And be sure to mark which answer you think is the best you get so we can all be sure we are doing a good job. Thanks

    This answer is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The law in your state may differ and your best answer will always come from a local attorney that you meet with privately. If you need a Consumer Law attorney, click the link above to find a Consumer Law attorney near you.


  2. You need to review your contract with a local consumer law attorney since your legal remedies are usually contained within it. Do not wait because all contacts contain time limitations and warranties.

    Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.


  3. Your first course of action should be to read your warranty and see what their warranty obligations are. Your next step should be to contact another pool installation company and get a quote for the repair along with a report of what is wrong. You then need to go back to Viking under and advise them to fix everything identified by the independent pool installer. If they refuse, you have to speak with a local construction attorney to find out what your rights are and whether it is cost effective to pursue the claim through court. As the attorney previously mentioned here, your best bet may be to take them to small claims Court. Typically in small claims court you need two quotes or one paid bill in order to prove damages.

    The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created by this answer. You should consult with a local attorney regarding your specific situation to obtain legal advice.

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