Send Ben: Local pool company accused of leaving homeowners high and dry

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Blue Oasis Pools & Spas in Keystone Heights is facing numerous complaints.

“You guys have sunk a lot of money into this hole in the ground,” Action News Jax’s Ben Becker said to Carlos and Monique Crummie. “Yes, we have,” replied Monique.

The Crummies wanted a dream pool. Instead, they are living a financial nightmare.

“How frustrating is this?” asked Becker.

“In the beginning, the frustration was boiling,” said Carlos Crummie.

In October 2020, the Crummies hired John Prendergast of Blue Oasis Pools & Spas in Keystone Heights and wrote him two checks, now for a deposit of $6,125 and the other for $21,437, about half of the $68,000 price tag.

But as the months went by, the Crummies got a sinking feeling the job was being abandoned.

“He would tell me a date and then brush me off,” remembers Monique Crummie. “I feel he was taking advantage of me because my husband was deployed at the time.”

Carlos is an active-duty Senior Chief Petty Officer in the Navy, and Monique was a Technical Sergent in the Air Force.

The Crummies mounted an offensive and contacted the Better Business Bureau, which has given Blue Oasis Pools & Spas an F rating with 5 complaints in the past 12 months.

One person wrote that Prendergast “abandoned the installation” of a pool, while another said he did “minimal work.”

In August 2021, the Crummies filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, only to be told, “The matter you described appears to be civil in nature and does not fall within our statutory jurisdiction.” “He’s still doing this with an active license,” says Monique Crummie. " I don’t understand why the State of Florida is not listening to several families complaining about the same company.”

Becker did a deep dive and emailed the DBPR to find out what was going on. He received a statement:

“The department cannot disseminate any information regarding any current or ongoing disciplinary proceeding of a license.” The statement went on to say that “the case has been closed” and that the “allegations either cannot be substantiated or disciplined” per statute.

“They’re really not fulfilling their mission,” says Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson. He is concerned that DBPR allows contractors to continue to work without immediate consequences. “That’s their job to make certain individuals with a license in the State of Florida make sure they abide by the rules of the profession so we as civilians don’t suffer an adverse event.”

Becker went to Prendergast’s listed address but no one answered. Then Becker called and left a message.

Prendergast called Becker back a few hours later and said he’s had trouble finding workers and that Blue Oasis Pools & Spas is out of business, but he assured Becker he would contact the Crummies — even texting Becker and asking for “a good email for them” — but the Crummies say they never heard back.

The Crummies have hired another pool builder to finish the job, but they aren’t finished with Prendergast.

“We had to come up with a plan for this information to get out so people can become beware of John Prendergast and Blue Oasis Pools so they know hey this guy is not going to do the job he’s going to get your money and run off with it,” says Carlos Crummie.

Becker is still working on getting answers for the Crummies and has sent their records to the state attorney’s office for review to determine if criminal charges will be filed.

If you believe a licensed contractor has ever taken your money and run, you can possibly be compensated by filing a claim with the Florida Homeowners Construction Recovery Fund. CLICK HERE for the link.

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