I-TEAM INVESTIGATION: Our I-Team just saved an 82-year-old woman thousands of dollars

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
News 12 at 6 O'Clock

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Once again, our I-Team is getting results. This time, it's for a woman in Aiken having major problems with her pool liner and cover.

Last month, Muriel Fitzgibbon, 82, lost her husband and her faith this issue would get resolved.

Then our Meredith Anderson got involved.

It's going to save Fitzgibbon thousands of dollars, but there's still a lesson in this for all of us when it comes to warranties.

For a while now, there's been something hanging over Fitzgibbon's head: her pool. She says it's full of problems, specifically with the liner and the cover.

"Of course it was a strain on my husband, you know. He'd get very angry, and I'd say, 'Don't get angry. It's not good for you.' He'd say, 'Oh,'" Fitzgibbon said. "Anyway -- he's gone."

For years, Tom Fitzgibbon handled stuff like the pool, but his health started to go.

"He just got worse and worse, and he died on the 21st of March," she said. Tom was 97 years old.

"He kept asking me, 'Has anything been done about it? I said, 'Well, they're working on it,'" Fitzgibbon said. "I didn't tell him, 'No.'"

Fitzgibbon's son, Paul, offered to step in and help. When he said he wasn't getting anywhere, he called on our I-Team to try to help.

It didn't take long to find their liner on the Latham Pools website or the promise that Latham has the "longest, strongest warranties in the industry." Even the supplier boasts "a 5-year full, 15-year prorated transferable warranty."

Fitzgibbon wanted it all fixed.

It sounds simple enough, but here's the catch: these warranties don't cover labor. According to a complaint filed with the Better Business Bureau, a customer had a liner rip "at one of the seams." It reads, "that particular liner was defective and has since been discontinued." The complaint goes on to say the following: "Our pool dealer is absorbing half of the $1,200 cost to reinstall, but we are responsible to cover the remaining portion. I feel this is unfair due to the fact that as the consumer, we didn't do anything wrong other than buy, unbeknownst to us, a defective liner."

Latham Pools' response said the company "replaced the said liner at no cost to her per our warranty document which states we don't cover any installation labor cost."

Paul tells our I-Team just last week, a Latham rep told him his mother's warranty doesn't cover the cover or liner. At age 82, the house and pool are just too much for her to handle by herself. She will need to fix the pool to be able to sell it.

"Whatever happens, you know," Fitzgibbon said. "You can only hope so much at 82."

Fitzgibbon's son contacted our I-Team Monday to let us know some good news. He wrote in an email, "Hi Meredith, you did it !!! I just got off the phone with one of Latham Pool's representatives, and they are going to ship the liner and cover to Mom's address."

Together, we're talking thousands of dollars worth of materials here, so this is huge for her. She'll still have to cover the labor, because again, that's not included in the warranty.

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