7 On Your Side investigates Deck Daddy complaints, gets told 'This interview is over'

Backyard deck of a home. (AP file photo)

(WJLA) -- The company has a catchy name - Deck Daddy - and has done a lot of advertising calling itself America's #1 choice for deck resurfacing.

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But then the complaints came rolling in to the Better Business Bureau and 7 On Your Side.

Allen Rector hoped to extend the life of the aging deck around his Marshall, Virginia home ahead of his mother's 75th birthday. In April he hired Deck Daddy to resurface his deck, but during a tour he showed 7 On Your Side Investigator Kris Van Cleave several places where he felt the work was sub-par.

"When you sit on it and look at it you can tell there are a lot of workmanship issues that need to be corrected," said Rector.

The former Marine says he called 7 On Your Side for help after Deck Daddy overcharged him.

"I told them to put $2,000 on the credit card and then had a check for the balance of $4,365.00," Rector said during an interview at his home. "Instead of $2,000 they put the full balance on the credit card as well as cashed the check."

Rector's was just the first of nine complaints received by 7 On Your Side. At least 10 have been filed with the Better Business Bureau.

Herndon resident Cheryl Gault, a widowed mother of three, hired Deck Daddy, but says the work on her deck was never done.

"I didn't get anything but a two-month run-around," Gault said, adding that Deck Daddy's CEO, Erik Haase, repeatedly promised a refund, but she didn't get it until she told him she was calling 7 On Your Side, "I immediately started getting text messages back...'I'll get you your refund.'"

Charlie Coale is left with what he calls his "zebra deck" after a Deck Daddy crew came to his Bowie home. Workers power-washed his deck, marked boards needing to be replaced with white paint, and then never returned. Coale's credit card company eventually reversed the Deck Daddy charge.

Coale and Rector told us they hired the home improvement company after visiting its website and seeing a logo for the Better Business Bureau that read "Accredited Business" with an "A+" rating.

Not true, says the Better Business Bureau's President and CEO Edward Johnson.

"They are not accredited, they have an 'F' rating with us. You can't get any worse than that," Johnson told 7 On Your Side.

"The consumer paid money up front, the service was not rendered or the service was inadequate, and now they having trouble getting their money back or getting in contact with the company at all," Johnson said, describing frequent complaints made to the BBB about Deck Daddy.

After canceling two previously agreed upon sit-down interviews, Haase met with ABC7 on Tuesday.

He read a lengthy prepared statement acknowledging mistakes were made while the company expanded, and pledged to address them all.

His attorney, Thuy Tien Nguyen, attempted to stop Kris Van Cleave from conducting an interview.

When asked about the BBB logo that we found displayed on the website on May 30, Haase initially denied it being there, finally acknowledging it "was a mistake." That logo was removed last month.

The Maryland Home Improvement Commission requires businesses doing home contracting work in Maryland to be licensed. It has received eight complaints about Deck Daddy.

Five of the complaints relate to the company's advertising, and the Commission is currently investigating three consumer complaints as well as the possibility Deck Daddy was operating without the proper licenses.

All of that follows a cease-and-desist letter the Commission says it sent to Deck Daddy in March for its advertising.

The MHIC contractor license printed on Coale and Gault's contracts belongs to another company, 7 On Your Side discovered.

Despite repeated requests, Haase has been unable to provide 7 On Your Side with proof that Deck Daddy is properly licensed in Maryland.

Half of the complaints received by 7 On Your Side have been fully resolved. Allen Rector received a refund, additional work was done on his deck, and he was given a written apology.

Deck Daddy was an advertiser on WJLA-TV.