As told to Ben Thomas by Bryan Chrissan, owner of Clear Valley Pool and Spa Service & Repair, Temecula, Calif.
Once I went out on a warranty call for a customer who said his heater wasn’t working.
He explained that when he’d first inspected the house, the
pool had been half-finished, and had had no equipment, so the bank
paid to complete it. When the homeowner purchased the house and
moved in, the pool was finished, and there was equipment installed,
which the homeowner assumed was new.
Well, it was new to him, but it was all obviously used equipment. I
asked him if the bank paid for new or used equipment, and it turns
out the bank didn’t care — because as long as they sold
the house, they got their money.
I asked the homeowner if he knew who’d installed this
equipment, and we got the guy’s phone number from his
paperwork. I put my cell phone on speakerphone, so the homeowner
was listening in on the call — but the guy who’d
installed the equipment, who we were calling, had no idea that I
was calling him with the homeowner sitting right there.
I played it as though I was just one pool guy calling another. I
asked this installer, “What’s your take on installing
new vs. used equipment?” and he said, “Oh, we do it all
the time. I buy a $100 pump online and sell it to the bank for
$500. The bank’s back East somewhere, so they don’t
know or care, and the Realtor just wants cheap parts.”
So basically, this guy buys parts online and installs them, just to
get the system up and running to the bare minimum. “And the
homeowner doesn’t know the difference,” he told me with
a laugh. “We just paint the stuff to make it look new, and we
sell it as new.”
And when I asked this guy how often he gets away with this, he
immediately mentioned an address that he’d just finished
doing, installing used equipment. He actually named the exact
street this customer lived on.
The homeowner’s jaw literally dropped. When I left, he was
looking for his lawyer’s number.