Rick Harvey, and his company KC Hot Tub Repair, is giving the pool service industry a bad name. The Kansas City business owner seems to have one real specialty: He knows how to take your money and run.
The man has been called out three times by Fox News program, Problem Solvers, but he’s still apparently up to the tricks he has spent years perfecting.
Some of his most recent victims are Mike and Cherri Costelow, who hired Harvey to fix their hot tub’s pump, whose bearings were going out. Make A-Wish donated the Costelows the hot tub 15 years ago for their son who has Angelman Syndrome, which prevents him from walking. Using their son’s social security money, on January 27, they paid Harvey $500 to fix the pump. He said he’d be back in three days to make the repairs. They never saw him again.
He gave the couple plenty of excuses: Problems with his truck; he was held up at another repair job; he was getting ready for his child’s birthday party. Eventually the Costelows demanded their money back, which he promised to give them. He didn’t.
He’s been playing this racket for years, and on both sides of the state line. Chris Noll and his wife, who live in Independence, Missouri, said they paid Harvey $657 to repair their hot tub. They never heard from him.
“We called him, texted him. He just doesn’t respond,” Noll said.
Among the company’s earlier victims was the pastor of a church, who was featured the first time Problem Solvers ran an exposé on KC Hot Tub Repair. In 2019, Pastor Bob Kaps of Heart of God Fellowship in Buckner, Missouri, was trying to get the hot tub that serves as the baptistry fixed, and he called Harvey for help. He paid the man $75 to fix it, as it had stopped heating and circulating. Harvey took what he said was a broken part and never returned. The pastor called and got voicemail. He even attempted to visit the business address, but it turned out to be a private home that appeared to be vacant.
The company has 24 Yelp reviews, 16 complaints to the Better Business Bureau, and they pretty much all say the same thing.
Harvey’s girlfriend and company co-owner, Jena Nowak, is apparently in on the scam. One man who had been ghosted by the company after he’d paid a deposit, decided to use his wife’s phone to see if he could make contact. Nowak answered the call and told him that they were dealing with a totaled car, a son’s first job interview, and the weather.
In November of 2021, Problem Solvers reported that Nowak also claimed to be one of Harvey’s victims.
“I have no money, no bank account, and all I have is a man who is ruining me, ruining me, ruining me,” Nowak said at the time.
This is a story she has repeated to at least a few of their customers when they manage to corner her, according to online reviews. But as of February of this year, Nowak was apparently still helping Harvey bilk unsuspecting customers out of their money.
“Do not do business with Rick Harvey and Jena Nowak of KC Hot Tub Repair,” Mike Costelow wrote in a Yelp review. “They took our disabled son’s $500 from his Social Security money to have his therapy hot tub fixed. They will not fix the tub or return his Social Security money. Bad, bad people.”
KC Hot Tub Repair. 1715 Freeman Ave, Kansas City, KS 66102. Phone 913-602-7906.