They paid for dream swimming pools. They ended up with costly nightmares
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Several Oahu residents from Ewa to Hawaii Kai thought they were getting a good deal when they got a company called Epic Pools Hawaii to install a new swimming pool.
They say their dreams — and dollars — disappeared when work didn’t happen.
“We were supposed to do a small lap pool,” said Julie, who asked that not use her last name. She hired Epic Pools Hawaii to build the pool in her backyard in Ewa.
She said she met with Aaron Figaroa.
“(He) did the initial quote, came in my backyard, looked at it, did some measurements, and said he would get back to me with a proposal,” Julie said.
That was back in May 2020.
“We did meet. We got everything taken care of and understood each other, and he asked me for a check, which was for $43,000.”
Almost immediately, there were delays.
“He did mention that he had to use another architect because the first architect took his money and now he had to start all over,” Julie said.
That delay took up the better part of a year.
Now, almost two years later, not a spade of dirt has been turned in Julie’s yard.
Meanwhile, marriage and family therapist Britt Young also hired Epic Pools, which started work on building her new swimming pool. In videos taken of construction, Figaroa can be seen wearing a blue long-sleeved shirt, working with other crew members.
“Initially everything was fine,” said Young. “He came, he brought his workers, they started to dredge and excavate and do all these things.”
But then work slowed down, and Figaroa gave excuses.
“He started coming less and less,” said Young. “’Oh, there’s a holdup at another pool site.’ ‘Oh, they don’t have your part yet.’ A lot of excuses.”
Young said he also asked for more money.
“I thought that was fair because he’s so under market,” said Young. “So you write additional checks. Seven thousand. Ten thousand. Twelve thousand.”
The Better Business Bureau said that Epic Pool was registered as a business, but was not licensed. The BBB said to go to the state’s DCCA web site to do a search for a company’s professional vocational licensing.
“When you do business with someone who has that appropriate licensing, you have a lot more recourse if things go wrong,” said Roseann Freitas, of the BBB’s office in Honolulu.
She said licensing protects both the consumer and contractor under state law.
But in these cases, Freitas said, “Report it to the police. You can also report it to the state of Hawaii and say this person has been misrepresenting themselves.”
Many consumers, including Young, thought that more money would finally produce results.
Young said it’s like gambling.
“You’re in so far, you’re in 80, 90, $100,000 — it’s hard to pull out because essentially you’re now saying goodbye to that money,” said Young.
Freitas added that’s part of the problem.
“They need more money. I just send them another payment, and they’ll get working. But they don’t.”
Julie filed a police report, who are investigating it was first-degree theft, a class B felony that carries a maximum 10-year prison term.
Young was able to get another contractor to complete the job.
As for Epic Pools, Julie said Figaroa stopped answering her calls last October. The company’s website has been taken down.
Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.