Our experience with Riviera was nothing short of a total headache and one of the most aggrevating and helpless building experiences one can encounter. Every bad contractor story you hear, short of them taking off with your $$ in the middle of the night, was true.
Our pool dig was scheduled for Jan. 25th. Recieved a call on the afternoon of the 25th, said it was postponed till the following day. Next day arrives, they dig for a few hours and determine it was too wet. Ok. It was two weeks later before the ground was dry enough to dig again. The digging crew was contracted by Riviera, so this is not a knock on them, and they were nice and considerate.
Two weeks into the project, we now have a hole in the ground. The steel, plumbing, and electric were done in one day. Great! A phone call the following week said the shell would be poured on Tues. Get a phone call on Tues. saying it was going to be postponed.
Next day, shell is poured. Went a week and a half with no activity around the house. (Mind you, they say they build in 30 days, yet it's now been almost that..) After many non-returned calls about what was going to happen next, the foreman (Nathan Reyes) for my site finally calls. He said my waterfall wasn't going to be scheduled until March 17th, as their crew quit on them and they had to hire a new one. That's now putting this at almost 2 months.
I call and ask to speak to Ron, the President. He doesn't return my call until the following day. I tell him I am upset that there are delays, and that noone has the curteosy to even call me in advance and inform me of the delays. I tell him his supervisor for my property was unsympathetic to the amount of dirt left from the dig, the fact that the dig destroyed my entire irrigation system (even in areas where they shouldn't have been digging!) and that the communication from the home office was completely non-existant. I got alot of "lip service" from Ron, and how he was going to make this right and call me the next day.
Needless to say, I never heard back from Ron. On March 17th, they do come and build my waterfall, but do not include the planters, which were an included item. I call the supervisor again. He tries to tell me that's not how they build them. I told him the salesman showed them to us in the plan, and we specifically wanted that feature. I end up having to talk to their "customer service lisason" (Chris) who was a complete waste of time. He tried convincing me the planters were "upgrades." I told him we never entertained ANY upgrades, so I definitely wouldn't be expecting them if they were. It took many more weeks of calling, and calling, and calling, and talking to many different people, to get the waterfall planters done.
After the waterfall was put in, they dragged their feet on the decking. Then they said the deck needed to cure for 7 to 10 days before they could do the acrylic finish. The pebble crew ended up finishing the pool and filling it with water before the acrylic crew came out. (Big surprise, the decking was delayed as well..) So my acrylic was done with water in the pool, resulting in a less-than-stellar paint job around the edging and acrylic material collecting in the bottom of my pool for the first month.
It was April 20th before they were finally off the property for good! I was so relieved. I had to costantly call to get the final clean up done. I had to constantly call to find out when the next step was going to take place.
(But don't worry.. they had no problem calling me when payment was due!)
I had to argue with many people about the product I was supposed to recieve. The stress of this project put me in a bad mood daily.. it caused arguements between my wife and I. She finally had to get on the phone and vent to the girls in the office, and all they were good at was "passing the buck" and taking messages.
Before I started building, a co-worker said to contract out all of the process myself. I told him I didn't want the headaches of calling people and keeping track of different crews. I wanted to make one phone call and not have to worry about if a crew was going to show up. BIG MISTAKE! I spent more time and effort dealing with the different levels at Riviera than I would've ever spent on individual contractors.
My advice if you want to build a pool.. contract it out yourself. You'll save thousands of $$'s, you will be in control. And those individual contractors only get paid when the job is done. We really felt helpless with Riviera, as we had prepaid throughout the process, only to sit an look at a hole in our back yard for weeks at a time.
We were promised a 30 day build time. I specifically asked the salesman (Eric - Gilbert Location) what recourse we had if our first loan payment rolled around and the pool wasn't done. He said that would not even be a problem, so not to worry about it. It would never happen.
Well, there we were, making a THIRD montly payment on our pool which we couldn't even use. His excuse.. "well, at least it's not swimming weather right now anyway." ??? (Typically when I pay hundreds of dollars a month on a product, it should be up to me to do with what I want.)
It took nearly 3 months for a pool that was supposed to be done in 30 days. We started in the end of Jan. so that we would have time to landscape and work in the yard before the hot weather set in. Instead, it was the beginning of May and I had just started redoing my irrigation and back yard landscaping. I realize the yard gets trashed when a pool gets put in. But my buffer for getting the yard done was completely eaten up. We had visits from family in New England that were not nearly as fun because a pool which should've been done by March was not even ready by mid-April.
Unfortunately, this experience has been had by many customers from many different companies. I think it goes with the territory, personally. I would never, ever recommend Riviera to anyone. Their customer service is the absolute worst. Once you sign that contract and give them the first payment, they could care less about a schedule.
If I were Ron and I had a crew quit on me, I would then roll up the sleaves and grab a shovel. At the very least, he should be picking up the phone and keeping customers informed. Whe someone spends $21,000 on a product, you'd think customer service would be a top priority for a company. Maybe I'm just old fashioned.
Check the ROC and BBB on a pool company first. The salesmen are on the same tier as car salesmen. What they tell you in the office is vastly different from what the crews do. Your best bet.. contract the build yourself and STAY IN CONTROL!!!! You can decide what equipment to use, what the schedule is, and when people get paid.