Customers say contractor’s shoddy work caused thousands of dollars in losses

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ind.-- Several homeowners are accusing a contractor of shoddy work.

At least four people claim they hired Maxx Life Protective Coatings, LLC to redo their decks, patios and pools but said that the owner didn’t stand by the work he did.

Ruth, who didn’t want her last name identified, reached out to the CBS4 Problem Solvers when she said Michael Fisher didn’t return to finish the job he promised. Ruth said she contracted Fisher in 2018 to powerwash and spray her deck with a protective coating. Ruth said Fisher and at least two other workers moved all of her outdoor furniture, power washed the deck and covered some gaps with a putty-like mixture.

She said at the end of the day, Fisher asked for at least half the payment that was originally quoted. Ruth and her husband reportedly paid Fisher $1,800, expecting him and the other employees to return to finish the work. For months, though, Ruth said Fisher texted excuse after excuse as to why he couldn’t come back out. Eventually, into 2019, Ruth said Fisher stopped contact completely.

“I get an answering machine and he will not return my phone call,” she said. “I’m pissed.”

Ruth and her husband filed a consumer complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s office.

She wasn’t the only customer to file that paperwork, either. Robyn Scheel filed a consumer complaint after she said Fisher coated her patio but then left her with a faulty product.

“Before, it was just plain concrete,” Scheel explained. “It was kind of wearing off an all that. We knew we needed to redo it.”

Scheel said she paid Fisher about $4,000 to redo her patio. After one season, though, she said the coating started chipping.

“All these chunks, when you pan over there-- big sections were coming off plus the cracks,” she said.

Scheel said she tried to call Fisher and that she sent him at least four letters in the mail. Each of the letters, though, ended up returned.

“You promised us one thing and this is what you delivered,” she said. “How can you do that to people?”

The Scheels showed CBS4 their neighbor’s porch, too. They said within a year of Fisher doing work at their next-door neighbor’s home, the neighbor’s porch started buckling.

So far, Matt Fenn is the only former customer to file a lawsuit in small claims court. Fenn said in 2017, he hired Fisher to coat his inground pool.

“The job looked phenomenal when it was completed,” Fenn said.

In Spring 2018, Fenn opened his pool like he did every other year. It wasn’t long before he started noticing large knots in the coating.

“The coating had faded from a very dark blue to a very light blue,” he remembered.

Fenn said Fisher and his team returned to fix the pool. Months later, though, the work was not done and Fenn was growing frustrated.

“All contact ceased, I couldn’t get a hold of him,” Fenn said.

Fenn hired a lawyer and is suing Fisher, hoping to get his money back. The two will face off in small claims court at the end of November.

Melissa Stover paid Fisher more than $10,000 to coat her pool. She said she had similar problems.

“We began to open it up in the spring, we got some of the debris out of it and we noticed the whole, entire bottom of it had lifted,” she told CBS4. “So it was like, huge bubbles in it.”

Stover said she paid Fisher out of her 401k, thinking the money and the product would be worth it.

“It took us years to get that $10,000 into our 401k and to this day, were still paying on that pool,” she said. “We never got to get in our pool again.”

Since then, Stover and her spouse have sold the house and moved to Florida. She said they don’t have the money to hire an attorney to take Fisher to court.

“It’s been really, really hard,” she said.

CBS4 tracked down Fisher to ask him about his work. He admitted that there were problems.

“What was a successful business venture turned into a nightmare because the company that promised me the world with their product ended up failing,” he explained. “I’ve literally lost everything because of it.”

Fisher blamed the manufacturer, Scorpion Protective Coating, saying it changed the chemical and product it was selling.

“This has kept me up at night, in the stress center, losing everything over it because I genuinely care about these customers,” he said. “I was going to try as hard as I could to find a way to make it right but one guy with nothing left, trying to maintain for his family, it’s a rough situation for me.”

CBS4 called Scorpion Protective Coating to ask about that change in the product. A company spokesperson said Fisher owed them money, too, but that they had written it off. He told CBS4 that Scorpion hasn’t changed their chemicals since at least 1996.

He sent CBS4 the following statement:

Scorpion deeply regrets any hardship that Michael Fisher and Maxxlife has caused to customers in the area. Scorpion enables thousands of small business owners across the US and stands strongly behind our products. As a small Indiana-based, family-owned business we understand what it means to be honest and forthcoming to all of our customers. There is no way to make sure that these values extend out to our customers and clients, but in almost all cases they do.

In regards specifically to Mr. Fisher, Scorpion has sold him products in the past. When he approached Scorpion with the thought of pursuing the "pool" market and we expressed to him that we do not have a recommended process for that application and therefore could not offer any warranty on the products that he purchased from us. Mr. Fisher understood this and bought the product under a private label format as he said that he had a specific process that he had come up with that worked. We were not advised nor did we inquire about this process as it was his business to run as he saw fit. Scorpion also knows that we were not a sole provider for the products that Mr. Fisher purchased, as he purchased products not only from Scorpion but various other chemical manufacturers.

Scorpion is extremely dismayed by the fact that instead of taking responsibility for the work he has done, Mr. Fisher has decided to blame Scorpion and/or take money from people and not do the work. We personally find this lack of personal responsibility abhorrent as this goes against the everything that Scorpion stands for. Regardless of the material used, we find it gut-wrenching to think that someone paid for work to get done and then have the promise not fulfilled. Whether it is a dollar or ten-thousand dollars doesn't matter as both the promise and the money are precious commodities.

Although not directly associated with Mr. Fisher and Maxxlife, Scorpion empathizes with any and all Hoosiers that he has turned his back on. As a father of 3, I could only imagine my anger, shock and frustration if this had happened to me.

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