‘My yard was a mess, and my pool was a mess’: Unresolved consumer complaints lead to BBB giving Backyard Adventures Pools and Spas rating of ‘F’
QUINCY — Kay Simpson spent $4,700 this summer to have an above-ground pool installed in the backyard of her home near Mill Creek.
The installation of the pool was so poor that she recently learned it would take an additional $3,600 in repairs to make it useful.
“I want the pool taken down, taken out of my yard, and I would like a refund,” she said. “I’ve already resigned myself to the fact that none of this is going to happen.”
Simpson is one of many dissatisfied customers who recently have done business with Backyard Adventures Pools and Spas, 1800 Broadway.
The Better Business Bureau of Eastern and Southwest Missouri and Southern Illinois, which has an office in Quincy, recently lowered its rating for Backyard Adventures to an “F,” the lowest on BBB’s scale, because of recent unresolved complaints. Consumer complaints to BBB report inferior workmanship, failure to contact customers and poor customer service.
A BBB press release notes the business was registered as Backyard Adventures Pools Spas and More LLC in March 2019, according to records in the Illinois Secretary of State office. Andy Reardon and Michelle Reardon are listed as managers of the business.
Couple had papers served to Reardon by pizza delivery
Dissatisfied with the installation of their above-ground pool at their home on Quincy’s south side, Marie and Lee John filed a civil suit in Adams County Circuit Court against Andy Reardon. A bench trial is scheduled for Dec. 17.
The Johns say the case had been continued multiple times because county officials couldn’t find Andy Reardon to serve him legal papers.
“They finally found the weasel,” Marie John said. “(Attorneys) delivered him a pizza, and when he answered the door, he was served his papers.”
Among the complaints received by BBB:
- One woman claimed to have paid Backyard Adventures for an above-ground pool to be installed in May 2020. She said she waited for more than a year for installation, and that happened only after a lawyer contacted the business on her behalf in August 2021. She said installation of the pool was a “nightmare.” She said the pool leaked soon after installation, and she and her husband repaired the leaks.
- A Quincy couple bought an above-ground pool from the company in the fall of 2020. The couple said the installation, done in June 2021, was done incorrectly. Pillars that hold up the walls were bent, and the pool’s bottom bowed under. The couple said the business would not return to fix the problems.
- A Quincy woman said she paid the company $3,000 in February 2021 as a down payment for a hot tub. She claims the business promised installation within a month. When she didn’t receive the hot tub, she claims she asked for a refund that was denied by the business. Backyard Adventures told BBB that the woman was told it might be up to a year before her hot tub would be delivered.
Simpson frustrated by number of delays in installation
Simpson said she ordered her pool on June 19, 2020 to be installed at a new home she was moving into. The pool arrived in boxes at her home in January. She stored the boxes in her garage for later installation.
She later learned from Andy Reardon a date when he planned to come to her home.
“Great, I’ll get the lawn furniture out of the way, and we’ll be ready to go,” Simpson said. “Of course, that time came and went. Nothing ever happened.”
She said she spoke to Andy Reardon in July to press him on a start date. She claimed Reardon told her “a couple of weeks,” but nothing happened, so she returned to the store once more.
“He was getting annoyed that I was pinning him down, and he said, ‘We’ll be out on Tuesday,’” Simpson said.
An employee arrived at Simpson’s home and asked where she wanted the pool.
“He spray painted a big circle and left,” Simpson sad. “I didn’t hear anything (afterward), so I called again.”
The Backyard Adventures crew finally made it to Simpson’s home on Tuesday, Aug, 17. A section of her backyard fence was temporarily removed to make room for excavating equipment.
“Andy comes back with a big excavator, and it just tore up my yard,” she said.
Once installation was finished, Simpson said the pool was about two feet from a window to her basement. A door from her back porch couldn’t open because the pump and filter for the pool was too close.
Simpson was asked if Andy Reardon ever suggested moving the pool away from her home. She replied, “Like saying it was in the wrong place? Or saying we’ve got to move it out a little bit? No. Nothing.”
Pool was installed too close to basement window, back porch
She also noted the liner overlapped the edge of the pool by about two inches on one side and eight inches on the other side. She said Reardon told her, “We can take care of that.”
When installation was finished, Simpson said the pool was not circular in shape, and several air bubbles had formed underneath the liner. She was concerned that thousands of gallons of water could flood her basement if her pool collapsed.
“My yard was a mess, and my pool was a mess,” she said. “I think Andy just threw it up there because I was bugging him.”
Simpson’s daughter posted her concerns about the pool installation on Facebook. Other people started contacting her with similar problems, complaining about poor customer service.
“My neighbor is a retired contractor, and he was shocked when he looked at it,” Simpson said. “I called (another pool installation company), and the guy said, ‘You better get somebody here right now, and you better call the BBB.”
Simpson has contacted the Adams County Sheriff’s Department and has talked with Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha. She says she has tried to speak with Andy Reardon, but she claims he hasn’t returned her calls since the day after the installation.
Ruptured hose flooded backyard of Quincy couple
The Johns had an above-ground pool installed this summer. They decided traveling with COVID-19 restrictions would be too difficult, so they opted for the pool, with plans to build a deck around it. They paid for it by trading a 35th anniversary Mazda Miata convertible to the Reardons. The pool was installed during two days in late June.
“I made sure I was here,” Lee John said. “It was hot. I had coolers of ice and water for the boys to drink. When they finished and they were getting picked up and ready to leave, I walked around the pool. There were several things that I thought weren’t quite right. He’s never even left the property yet. I showed him this, and I showed him that, and I said that doesn’t look safe. And he said, ‘Oh, I can fix that.’
“We took him at his word. It looked pretty bad to us, but he said it could be fixed. But he never came back. He never talked to us again.”
The Johns used the pool for the first and only time on July 3.
“We hadn’t talked to anybody else to know that maybe it wasn’t safe to be in the pool,” Marie John said. “We knew it didn’t look good.”
A hose ruptured, and approximately 5,000 gallons of water flooded the backyard.
The Johns said the bottom of the pool was uneven, and the sides “moaned and groaned.” They had an employee of another pool installation company look at their pool. He thought $4,300 in repairs were needed to make the pool usable. Their lawyer recommended they not use the pool again.
Facebook page started by dissatisfied customers
The Johns don’t want their car back. They want the pool disassembled and removed from the property. They also would like to get the value of the car plus the fees for their attorney paid for.
“I don’t trust the integrity of (the pool). There’s 18,000 gallons of water in there, and I don’t know where it’s going to go if the skin ruptures,” Marie John said. “I finally made up my mind that the only way we’re going to see any justice if it we filed a suit against him. Andy Reardon is a crook. Every person we have known or met who knows him and his wife say they’re crooks.
“We don’t want to have to deal with it any more. We just want it off the property.”
A handful of people who have complained about the work done by Backyard Adventures started a Facebook page. John Frankenhoff of Quincy and Debbie Krauss of Hannibal, Mo., are members of the group.
“I had extensive repairs done in 2019, and it was a bad experience the whole way through,” Frankenhoff said. “I would not recommend (Backyard Adventures) at all.”
“Andy gave us a pool that was not what we ordered — thinner walls, fewer upright supports and half the warranty of the pool,” Krauss said. “We gave them $3,100 to install our pool. They came out, tore up our yard and refused to finish the installation. Andy only wants to give us back $1,000 for not installing the pool. The yard is less level than when they started.
“We repeatedly demanded he order us the right pool. He says he is done with us. We demanded a return of the wrong product back to him to get a refund. He said, ‘It doesn’t work like that.’”
Michelle Reardon blames installation problems on customers
Simpson says more than a dozen people have reached out to her to talk about similar problems.
A Facebook page for the business is no longer active.
In an interview with BBB, Michelle Reardon blamed the installation problems on the customers, saying each did things to the pools after the company’s installation. She said the business has experienced supply issues during the COVID pandemic. She said people who want spas are being forced to wait for up to a year.
“We are trying to work with everybody,” she told BBB. “We’ve tried to explain things the best we could.”
Muddy River News contacted Michelle Reardon for a comment about the BBB rating. She replied in an email, “We have talked with our lawyer already, but at this time we don’t want to talk. Thank you.”
Copley suggests customers should contact Quincy Police
Rob Copley, chief of the Quincy Police Department, says issues like these are similar to home improvement cases.
“It’s kind of a gray area,” he said. “The cases that are more clear as a criminal issue are those where money is accepted, and the work is just flat out not done or not completed. It’s possible to work up a case on just poor work or work that was consistently below the industry standard, but those are harder cases to put together.
“If someone feels they have a criminal case, I would suggest they contact the police department and request to have an officer come out so they can see what was or was not done and determine whether this meets a criminal standard. If it does not, the recourse for the victim is civil court and suing for losses and damages. The ultimate decision maker on charges obviously would be the state’s attorney’s office.”
Farha says he has been contacted by several people who have bought products or services from Backyard Adventures. He said he was aware of the BBB investigation of the company’s business practices.
“People need to get in touch with law enforcement,” he said. “Our office does not initiate investigations. We simply rely on law enforcement making reports, and then we make the decision whether or not to file.
“We certainly take this serious, and the matter remains under investigation. I know individuals are upset, because they were looking forward to having a pool in their backyards. That was what they paid for last summer, and they still don’t have it. I would just encourage these people not to give up.”
Website bio: Reardon says cutting corners causes many local businesses to suffer
Because of the large amounts of money involved, Farha said the statute of limitations on these complaints is three years.
“I don’t want our citizens to be worried about whether or not we’re going to be fast enough to prosecute this matter,” he said. “No decision has been made to file charges, but at the same time, I want people to realize that if there is something criminal involved in the business dealings, we will file appropriate charges.”
A biography about Andy Reardon on the Backyard Adventures website says he thought the Quincy area lacked a trustworthy resource when buying a pool or hot tub.
“After working in the industry for over 20 years, he consistently felt that businesses in the Quincy area were falling short in the most important area of the business: customer service,” the site reads. “Andy knew that cutting corners with customers in the long run is what was causing many local businesses in the area to suffer. He wanted to do things differently, and started his own business in 2018.
“Since then, he has never looked back. His theory worked, and the Quincy area now has an honest, reliable, and quality business that has made owning a pool or hot tub an enjoyable experience instead of a nightmare. If you don’t believe us, just ask the customers.”
Simpson read that and laughed.
“He’s a piece of work,” she said.
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