In July of 2008 we purchased vinyl fencing and gates to surround and protect our in ground swimming pool. The gates failed within a few months (Broke apart) and the installer returned and glued them back together. (See the video on Youtube.com of the gates breaking) Shortly thereafter the gates broke apart again. We contacted the local Lowes (Latham, New York) in the spring of 2009 and they said the installer would return to repair the gates. After repeated telephone calls and trips to the Lowes store the installer was schedule to repair the gates on July 9, 2009. He was a no show. At the end of July of 2009 my wife was again in the local Lowes and was approached by an installation person. "Are the repairs done" she asked. "No" replied my wife " the installer did not show." My wife than informed her that it did not matter now as it was too late to open the pool for this year and to just get the installer there when they could. The installer showed up in late September of 2009 to make the gate repairs. The backyard and swimming pool remained closed for the entire season of 2009 because of the broken gates.
The gates failed again shortly after the repair and in the spring of 2010 we again approached Lowes requesting they fixed the faulty safety gates. They acted surprised that the gates were again broken. I informed them that I had checked the Internet and others were having the same problems with the vinyl gates. They assured me that the problem would be taken care of immediately! A little upset I contacted the local building department and requested they look at the installation and the product they were selling to protect an in ground swimming pool. The building inspector examined the product and installation and informed me to keep the backyard and pool covered and closed as the gates and fencing were: 1) Of questionable quality to be used as safety gates; 2) gates opened in the wrong direction; 3) the gates were not self-closing; 4) latches did not meet code; 5) and the fence was installed too high from the ground, all in direct violation of New York State Building Code and illegal!
Armed with this new information I confronted Lowes installation staff when they again came to my home. The following question and answer transpired between LOWES employee G####, The Installation Supervisor, and John Thornton:
MR. THORNTON: "I'm going to ask you a question – how would you like having your kids living on this street with fu##### gates like this with an in ground pool? You would be scared sh##less wouldn't you."
MR. THORNTON: "I've been living like this for almost two years…"
(Transcribed from tape recording of this conversation)
They agreed to have the installer remove the defective product and reinstall the product correctly to meet building codes. This was finally accomplished in late May of 2010.
I than requested that Lowes reimburse us for the loss of our backyard and swimming pool for the year of 2009. Lowes informed me that my wife told them in 2009 that she was not going to open the pool anyway (they had two witnesses to this statement) and I suffered no loss. They offered $500 dollars because I was a good customer after dictating to me the fine points of "contract law." Note: They also informed me that I could not use the audiotapes of their admission of liability and shabby workmanship because they "did not give me permission to tape them." The tape recordings contain admissions that the product used was questionable, installed improperly, and in violation of State law. They also include the installer stating the gates were junk and breaking at most installations he had done and he was tired of fixing them. I can understand why they would not like to have anyone hear the tapes! As an aside, my wife had paid a local pool company a $50.00 deposit to open the pool and clean the decking in May of 2009, a deposit we lost because the pool could not be opened.
I refused the $500.00 and left the local Lowe's as I do not intend to allow a company to hide behind "contract law" after the "circus" that occurred at my home.
I intend to seek legal relief and expose the "Lowes Shuffle" for what it really is to would be customers.
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