Premier Pools & Spas, a national pool-construction franchise, recently revoked its license from a Central California location following multiple complaints from consumers and the Contractors State License Board.
Donald Boucher, who held a Premier license for his office in Salida, Calif., also may lose his state contractor license, as CSLB has called for its revocation.
Problems began as early as October 2014, when the CSLB issued a citation against Boucher’s license. The charges included aiding, abetting or conspiring with an unlicensed person to evade the law, as well as entering into contracts with an unlicensed contractor, said Rick Lopes, chief of public affairs for the California CSLB. A $500 fine was issued and paid about a month later.
By May 2015, the first of eight consumer complaints against Boucher’s business was filed with the CSLB, inspiring the agency to call for suspension or revocation of the company’s contractor license. “The complaints and our resulting action against this license [are] not centered on workmanship issues,” Lopes said. “Many of the issues … had to do with money.” Complaints ranged from failure to pay subcontractors for completed work to taking money from clients without doing the work and abandoning jobs before they were finished.
According to a report from Fox 40 in Sacramento, Calif., several would-be pool owners in surrounding communities could not reach Boucher about pool projects that had been paid for, but not completed.
Complaints regarding Boucher’s business practices also reached Paul Porter, CEO of Premier Franchise Management, who began receiving complaints from customers regarding timeliness concerns and warranty issues. Boucher was given an opportunity to remedy that particular warranty situation and ultimately did come through for the customer, but other issues kept piling up, Porter said. “He was taking too long to finish the pools, so I gave him an opportunity to finish the pools in a timely manner,” Porter explained. “He didn’t ... so I revoked his license and I made arrangements to have all the pools finished.”
Boucher said he believed Porter gave him a fair chance to correct the situation. “I do feel that we had enough time to go ahead and take care of the customers in a timely manner,” he said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it.”
Another Premier Pools office completed construction on the pools, without charging the homeowners extra. “It was the best strategy to take care of all the customers in the end,” Boucher said.
Porter said that while the complaints may have done some damage to the Premier brand, he feels satisfied with the end result.
“Sometimes people don’t work out, but we always try to do the right thing and give other offices an opportunity to step up,” he said. “I think that’s kind of a positive for the industry, not a negative.”