Family frustrated as they drown money in pool project yet to be finished

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Every time Teresa Smith steps into her backyard, she gets irritated.

“It’s sickening,” said Smith who lives with her husband and children next to a golf course in Blue Springs.

What was supposed to be a poolside sanctuary for her family has turned into a $48,000 nightmare that’s been dragging on for two months.

“We work really hard for our money,” Smith said. “It makes me mad that someone could just take our money and lie.”

She’s talking about Terry Wood, the owner of Luxury Custom Pools and Renovation. Smith says Wood promised the pool would be completed before Memorial Day, now she is having trouble even getting hold of him.

“The first three weeks, everything moved fast,” Smith said.

So fast that the Smiths felt okay about paying Wood in advance, per their contract, the bulk of what they owed him for the pool. But the more money he collected (so far he has $48,000), the less work the Smiths started to see.

“The only days he was diligent in making contact with us is days when he needed more money,” Smith said.

Their attempts to reach him often proved fruitless.

“He wasn’t answering the phone,” Smith said and she was unable to leave a message because the mailbox was full.

Plus her text messages weren’t answered. Growing increasingly suspicious, Smith tried reaching the contractor from her work phone, a number he didn’t know. He answered right away.

He apologized for not having been in touch with her and blamed the delay on another job that was taking longer than planned. Still concerned, the Smiths started digging into Terry Wood’s past and discovered that he had owned another pool company called Wholesale Pools and Spa that had a D- with the Better Business Bureau.

According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office, Wood’s current company was only created last year.

After the Smiths threatened to sue Wood if he didn’t finish the job, Wood emailed them that he was having a cash-flow problem and would finish the job only if they paid for supplies.

The Smiths refused, insisting they don’t owe him any more money and no longer trusted him to show up. The Smith family was the second family we’d received a complaint from about Terry Wood. We visited Wood at a sprawling Blue Springs home. Although a truck was in the driveway full of building supplies, no one came to the door.

Wood later called us and repeated the excuse that he was having a cash-flow problem, which appears to be true. A check of court records shows Wood has been successfully sued multiple times and has liens filed against him. Wood told us he fully intended to finish the Smiths pool and even promised to start staining the concrete that very day. But when the Smith family asked him to do just that, he said that was just a figure of speech.

Wood then sent the Smiths an estimate for supplies needed to complete their pool. The Smiths refuse to give Wood or his supplier any more money. They’ve hired a new pool company, hoping to put this nightmare behind them.

The Smiths are still planning on filing suit against Wood for more than $6,000 in work that they say they paid him for but never received. Wood insists he’s the one who’s actually owed money.

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