Leisure World Owner Starts New Business Despite Complaints
By Dan Bewley and Scott Thompson, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The former owner of Leisure World is back in business, opening a new pool retail store to replace the one he closed last summer.
When Al Johnson closed Leisure World last July, he promised to resolve all complaints. But the Better Business Bureau and some customers still have questions.
"They're trying to match some brick," said Jeff Porter, a Leisure World customer, pointing to his swimming pool.
Jeff Porter bought his pool from Leisure World in September, 2009 and still has the receipt to prove it.
"Once the deposit was made and they had money in hand, they were pretty slow in responding to anything," Porter said.
The pool is still missing a few bricks, and the concrete surrounding it has several cracks. Porter has nearly given up.
The final straw came last summer when Leisure World closed its doors leaving dozens of customers with unfinished pools. The shutdown resulted in its accreditation being revoked and an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau.
It's six months later, and the former owner of Leisure World, Al Johnson has opened a new pool retail store called Pool and Spa Warehouse. He's even sent out what he calls a letter to customers saying Pool and Spa Warehouse has been asked to offer support to Leisure World customers.
Johnson declined repeated requests to speak with us on camera, but he did offer a statement.
Al Johnson: "This is my livelihood. I've been working diligently for months to resolve this situation. Since the closing of Leisure World, legitimate complaints that were filed at the Better Business Bureau were contacted."
The BBB says Johnson has fixed most of the problems but adds Leisure World still has nearly a dozen unresolved complaints on file.
In a statement, the BBB says customers should be cautious: "Our experience is that many times past behavior is an indication of future behavior. We hope consumers will do their homework before doing business with any company."
Porter says he's never talked with Johnson and all of his calls to get his pool fixed have gone unanswered. He also finds it hard to believe that, with all the problems, Johnson would open a new store.
"I don't know how they can start over with a business and have some unresolved problems with pools," said Jeff Porter, a Leisure World customer who says his problems with the store have not been resolved.
Full Statement From Leisure World and Pool and Spa Warehouse owner Al Johnson:
"Leisure World was fortunate enough to be in business in Tulsa for over 15 years. 2009 was a tough time financially for many individuals and businesses. The economic climate proved to be difficult for Leisure World to continue large scale operations, at its 91st and Memorial location. In July 2009, Leisure World closed its doors. However, Pool & Spa Warehouse notified every Leisure World customer – 4000 customers in all - in September 2009, via a mailed postcard. All past Leisure World customers with service issues were directed to the Pool & Spa Warehouse on 51st, one block east of Mingo.
Since the closing of Leisure World, legitimate complaints that were filed at the Better Business Bureau were contacted. All legitimate complaints will be handled to the 100% satisfaction of the customer. The parts and materials needed to correct service and installation issues will be available to the store in February and March.
If Leisure World customers require service help, please call Pool & Spa Warehouse at 628-7665 9am to 4pm. We resolve to handle any issues to complete customer satisfaction.
Statement From the Rick Brinkley, Better Business Bureau Of Eastern Oklahoma President:
"Anytime the management of a company closes its doors and leaves consumers holding the bag for tens of thousands of dollars of goods and/or services for which the company has already been paid and then turns around and opens another company under a different name, the BBB urges extreme caution before doing business with that new company. Our experience is that many times past behavior is an indication of future behavior. We hope consumers will do their homework before doing business with any company. This is a lesson often times learned the hard way."