Couple got ripped off with spa purchase

September 8, 2008 5:25:49 PM PDT
A soak in a hot tub can be a great way to relax. But you don't want to get soaked if you're buying one.

Some Bay Area consumers who saved up enough money for the perfect spa to relieve stress -- but all they got for it was "more stress."

Sally and Milton Hughes have a nice backyard pool, but they've always wanted a nice bubbly hot tub to go with it.

"Wintertime comes it'd be nice to have because of you know just aches and pains," said Milton Hughes from San Lorenzo.

"I thought that this would help with my arthritis, help with the stress," said Sally Hughes from San Lorenzo.

So last September, they came to Coast Spa dealership in Castro Valley and bought a deluxe model.

"And it had a lot of jets in it which is something that we wanted," said Milton Hughes.

$6,900 dollars and the dealer, Jim Gerard, promised delivery.

Within 12 weeks so the couple got the deck all ready with special electrical wiring and waited -- but 12 weeks later, "no spa."

"And then it got to be 16 weeks and then it was well they're backed up at the factory," said Milton Hughes.

Gerard kept telling them it would be two more weeks. But eight months later, there's still no spa; just the concrete slab, and the special wine they're saving for the first soak in the tub.

The bonus gift from Mr. Gerard ? a rubber duck and bath scent.

"We finally came to the realization that we got ripped off," said Milton Hughes.

So did Peggy McGregory of Union City. She suffers severe arthritis.

"For five years I've been going into that one store there, dreaming about the hot tub," said Peggy McGregory from Union City.

Peggy refinanced her house and paid Gerard $6,000 for a new spa. That was way back in July.

"We went past Thanksgiving now we're getting close to Christmas and still no hot tub," said McGregory.

And no hot tub today either. Just like Sally and Milton, Peggy only has an empty deck, pain in her joints and the same little gift.

"What I actually have from him is a little yellow rubber ducky," said McGregory.

Turns out Coast Spas of Canada removed Gerard as an authorized dealer months ago. He's now called Spa Technologies.

Coast Spas told 7 On Your Side Gerard never even ordered those hot tubs for Sally and Milton -- or Peggy.

"Then I remembered, 7 On Your Side," said McGregory.

So I decided to pay Gerard a visit.

ABC7's Michael Finney: "Hi, I'm Michael Finney from Chanel 7 and we have some complaints about your business."

Gerard: "Oh I believe we do, I believe we do."

ABC7's Michael Finney: "The two we're looking for are Peggy and Sally. They say you took their money and don't have their hot tub."

Gerard: "Ok well I did not take their money and not deliver their hot tub. It's in the works right now."

ABC7's Michael Finney: "When do you think they're going to get those?"

Gerard: "I would probably say I'm going to try to get Sally Hughes spa to her in the next couple of weeks."

ABC7's Michael Finney: "Are you shutting down? Because it's beginning to look a little empty in here.

Gerard: "No we're not shutting down."

ABC7's Michael Finney: "So if someone comes in here today and buys a spa are they going to have to wait 8 months? Right now we're not selling any product."

Gerard: "So Sally's getting hers in a couple weeks.

ABC7's Michael Finney: "What should I tell Peggy."

Gerard: "Tell Peggy I'm working on hers also."

"We're ready, we're ready. Every night when it's cold I think oh let's get in the spa now. Whoop, we don't' have one," said Sally Hughes.

We'll follow up to see if he really does deliver those spas and we've learned Gerard's business is now under investigation by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.


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