TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Riviera Pools shut its doors, leaving a trail of customers who paid for pools they didn’t get.
Many paid tens of thousands of dollars for down payments, yet their pools were never started, while others have holes in the ground.
Monica Rivera had big plans for her backyard. In May, she put down $14,000 toward a $71,000 pool. Work never started, and then she learned the company suddenly closed its doors for good.
“At this point we don’t even want a pool, but we want our money back,” she said. “We want to be able to just clean up and then also just make it right with everyone else in this dilemma.”
Across Pasco County, Ankur Bhatnagar, called Better Call Behnken for help too. His situation is the same as Rivera’s, but he shelled out $22,000.
Consumer Investigator Shannon Behnken tracked down the company’s president, Cezary Sadlinkski, who says he bough half of the business in February.
Sadlinski explains that he and partner William Molten, the company founder, were forced to close because the company was losing money. He promised to make things right.
“My responsibility as 50 percent owner is to take care customers and that is what I am doing,” he told Behnken.
Sadlinkski says he has a contract to sell the company’s property and will use the money to pay back deposits. Then, hours before the deadline for this story he returned deposits to Rivera and Bhatnager.
Sadlinsky said he personally paid back some customers because he would “prefer to live with financial loss than with feelings that someone lost money with a business which I was involved.”
He says the hope is that others will have deposits back soon.