Investigation follow-up: Swimming pool contractor shutting down, offering some customers refunds

10 On Your Side

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Three customers who came to 10 On Your Side with complaints about their swimming pool contractor got a recent surprise in their mail. They’re being offered a refund.

Several customers of Artistic Pools told us their stories of how they paid for the pool of their dreams, but that’s all it turned out to be. Liam and Jennifer Benincasa spent more than $35,000 and were left with nothing but a hole in the ground and some framework.

Justin Roth paid Artistic nearly $40,000 and then an additional $25,000 to a second contractor to complete what Artistic had left unfinished. For $6,400, Trisha Sheehan got some sample books and an outline painted on her backyard. Erin Lohman got nothing whatsoever for her $8,000.

All of them had dealt with John Jiannine, partner and owner of Artistic Pools.

Several customers went to police to pursue criminal charges. One of those customers learned his charges would not stick because it was more a case of a failing business, rather than business fraud.

But then three of the customers, Sheehan, Lohman and Aaron Spisak, were surprised to receive a letter early last week from the locally-based Bedi law firm. It states that Artistic Pools retained the firm to close the company, and it says Artistic is offering them a refund.

Lohman says she’s cautiously optimistic, but relieved. “I’m willing to give Jiannine the benefit of the doubt. I’ll believe it when I see it. I want him to do the right thing, and I believe telling my story to 10 On Your Side was able to speed this along. All I did was speak the facts.”

It’s important to point out that the three customers who have been offered refunds so far all had little or no work completed, so their refunds are easier to calculate. Others had some work completed, and that will figure into how much they might get back from Artistic.

We reached out to the Bedi Law firm twice in the past week, wanting to know what will happen to other customers who spent tens of thousands of dollars but never got a completed pool. If and when we get a response, we will update this story.

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