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January 02, 2014

LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Dustin McDaniel filed a consumer-protection lawsuit today against an in-ground swimming pool installer accused of taking Arkansas homeowners’ money and leaving them with nothing more than an empty hole in their backyards.

The lawsuit against Aquatic Pools LLC and its owner, Glenn Yates, of Stillwell, Okla., alleges that Yates failed to complete the construction of in-ground swimming pools, retaining walls and landscaping as called for in contracts with several Arkansas consumers. In at least eight instances, homeowners have paid Aquatic Pools for pool installations but the company has not completed the projects.

(Read the complaint here.)

Aquatic Pools previously was located in Gentry. The lawsuit filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court accuses the company and Yates of violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

According to McDaniel’s suit, Yates has received tens of thousands of dollars from homeowners, yet, in many instances, performed only backyard excavation work and nothing more.

“What homeowners expected to be a spot for recreation and relaxation turned into a safety hazard, as many consumers have lost both their money and the use of their backyards,” McDaniel said. “This company and its owner have made excuse after excuse to Arkansas consumers. It seems they are good at keeping other people’s money but bad at keeping their own promises.”

In one instance, Aquatic Pools and Yates promised in March 2011 that installation of an in-ground pool would take four to six weeks. After excavating dirt for the installation, the defendants never returned to finish the project. They have been provided full payment, but have yet to complete the work, according to the complaint.

In another case, the company is alleged to have taken half the money necessary to complete an installation, even though it had performed just 10 percent of the work. Despite that, the company continued to press consumers for additional payments.

Several consumers took out home-improvement loans to pay for the projects. Because the defendants have failed to complete the work, some consumers do not have enough money to pay another installation company to finish the projects.

McDaniel asked the Court to order the defendants to cease the business practices that violate Arkansas law and require the defendants to pay restitution to affected homeowners. In addition, McDaniel requested that the defendants be required to comply with requests from consumers who wish to cancel contracts and be prohibited from continuing to seek payments from consumers.

Also, the lawsuit seeks civil penalties, attorneys’ fees and costs.