Keep all paperwork related to your project in one place. This includes copies of the contract, change orders and correspondence with your home improvement professionals. Keep a log or journal of all phone calls, conversations and activities. You also might want to take photographs as the job progresses. These records are especially important if you have problems with your project – during or after construction.
Completing the Job: A Checklist
Before you sign off and make the final payment, use this checklist to make sure the job is complete. Check that:
- All work meets the standards spelled out in the contract.
- You have written warranties for materials and workmanship.
- You have proof that all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid.
- The job site has been cleaned up and cleared of excess materials, tools and equipment.
- You have inspected and approved the completed work.
Where to Complain
If you have a problem with your home improvement project, first try to resolve it with the contractor. Many disputes can be resolved at this level. Follow any phone conversations with a letter you send by certified mail. Request a return receipt. That’s your proof that the company received your letter. Keep a copy for your files.
If you can’t get satisfaction, consider contacting the following organizations for further information and help:
- State and local consumer protection offices.
- Your state or local Builders Association and/or Remodelers Council.
- Your local Better Business Bureau.
- Action line and consumer reporters. Check with your local newspaper, TV, and radio stations for contacts.
- Local dispute resolution programs.
For More Information
- Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov
- National Association of Home Builders Remodelers™ Council: www.nahb.com
To order a free copy of How to Find a Professional Remodeler, send a self-addressed
stamped envelope to:
NAHB Remodelers Council
1201 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
- National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators: www.nacaanet.org
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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