A Pennsylvania pool company has offered to help hundreds of Maryland customers left with unfinished pools last month after Severna Park-based Catalina Pool Builders announced it had closed permanently.
Anthony and Sylvan Pools, which has locations in 18 states including an office in Jessup, will give custom discounts using a “case-by-case approach” to any customers affected by Catalina Pool Builders closing on Oct. 13, said Bonnie Chong, president and chief executive officer of Anthony and Sylvan Pools. Customers who had contracts with Catalina but haven’t broken ground could receive about a 10% discount and up to a 20% discount for those who have had work started.
“Getting a pool, we believe is supposed to be an exciting time, an opportunity to create something you can have for yourself and also share with friends and family,” Chong said. “We understand this is a very emotional time for these homeowners so we want to bring them into our family and give them the relief of having a job done well.”
Last month, Catalina Pool Builders, located on Ritchie Highway, announced it was closing after losing its license from the Maryland Home Improvement Commission. A Maryland Department of Labor official confirmed the company’s MHIC license was suspended on Oct. 17.
The company issued a statement to its customers that as of Oct. 13 it had officially gone out of business after 14 years. Catalina Pool Builders was registered as a Maryland business in August 2008, according to Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation records. Clarence Seyfferth IV is listed as the company’s resident agent. The rising cost of supplies, labor shortages and other world events over the last few years forced the company to close, the statement said.
The announcement left former customers in Maryland with pools at various stages of completion, including some with half-dug holes and others missing key equipment like pool covers and water pumps.
Some have begun to take legal action. Since January, Catalina and its owners have been named as a defendant in nearly a dozen civil suits from at least six Maryland counties that allege poor business practices and breach of contract.
The Capital reached out to Seyfferth, as well as the other owners named in as defendants in legal filings: Clarence Seyfferth III, also known as Kip, Joshua Seyfferth, and Leland Seyfferth. None returned calls for comment. Their attorneys weren’t available for comment.
Chong became Anthony and Sylvan’s CEO in April after serving as general counsel, chief financial officer and chief strategy since 2018. . She sympathized with any pool company trying to make it through difficult times like the COVID-19 pandemic, but said she feels especially bad for customers who have been left behind. She hoped to help in some way by offering discounted services.
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For customers like Terry Horrocks, an Essex resident and retired firefighter, turning the page on this experience can’t come soon enough. He’s already secured help from a family friend working with Baltimore-based Pool Care Unlimited to complete his pool.
“We have been dealing with this since signing our contract in April, lots of delays which we understood because my home is near the water in Baltimore County,” Horrocks said. “We had given $26,000 already and then six days after Catalina supposedly went out of business they charged us $13,000 to finish a certain portion. Just a ridiculous situation.”
Horrocks is exploring a lawsuit against Catalina Pool Builders but at this point admits he just wants to have his pool complete even if it isn’t done the exact way he and his wife originally desired.
Pre-trial hearings have been scheduled for other open cases regarding the company starting next month.
John Seaton, a long-time Catalina employee, is also suing the company, alleging Catalina failed to pay him more than $400,000 in commissions and didn’t respond to his request to be paid as a full-time employee.
A hearing in Seaton’s case is scheduled for May 2023.