The Local Mediation Program of Maine every year puts construction sector in the list of the most complained about. Today, we are going to discuss and spice up with examples 10 the most painful complaints. We'll cover the issue of home improvement fraud or licensing problems and give you the sample letters about construction companies or repair services you may send to authorities.

Bad Quality

The most typical complaints about contractors that people file are connected with the lack of quality. Here we have the list of common problems:

Mold on walls

Before buying a house or initiating building process pay attention to insurance policies that cover mold but not only sudden and accidental water leaks as in case of HO-A policies (basic insurance policy for homeowners). Pay attention to the HO-B policies (covers basic points and additional types of damage (e.g. water damage). They will allow you to obtain reimbursement of the full cost of home building.

Holes in the floor and/or walls

Sometimes people need to submit 30 construction complaints to get only ¼ of the issues fixed. Still some home owners can wait for a long time to have the problems solved. An Lgi Homes customer from Texas saw these holes in the walls after people from Lgi Homes company removed the tube for its further substitution:

Backyard drainage issues

Another Lgi Homes client lost $1,400 due to drainage issues. Unfortunately, the author of this review was not the only one who suffered from the same problem. Numerous complaints helped to move the situation from the death point. But it just led to even bigger problems. Thus, the house owner found other manufacturer to fix the bad quality of drainage system. And these changes cost him a pretty penny. You can see the problem in this short video:

Ponds in the yard

Dr Horton homeowner can’t yard use for a long period of time because of the water. In order to emphasize the complexity of the problem, the author of the complaint attached some pictures to his review:

"Very untrustworthy. I will advise anyone against buying a D.R Horton home. I have had nothing but issues since construction began. I am going to file a complaint with BBB also since i have a connection at the local TV station, i will see if it can be made public."

In case you've witnessed some of these or other examples of bad quality, you are free to file a complaint with the State Contractor Licensing Board. You can find the map with all states and click the one you are interested in by following this link. Your task is to print it, fill it in, attach copies of documents (signed contract, checks and other bank documents, invoices, receipts, etc.) and send it to a licensing board or other appropriate institution (e.g. plumbers board).

Damage/Defects

The next type of construction complaints is dedicated to the damages and defects you discover. The defects may concern not only yard, lawn, interior or facilities. You can also find them outside the house. One of the instances is leaks in the siding stone. The reviewer bought a new house from Pulte Homes and noticed the problem right after the building was finished.

The managers of the company assured him that the leaks could be fixed within 2 years. However, the truth is as follows: the leaks that are more than an inch wide should be covered by warranty: 

"I've also confirmed the issues on stones are not usual crack for new home. However, Pulte quality manager keep saying the crack should be more than a inch to covered by warranty (they changed word) and rusty stones were expected result for natural stones (my home is the only house in our community have rusty stones on the front.)"

Poor Customer Service

According to the reviews on pissedconsumer.com site you may suffer from lack of customer care while dealing with construction or repair companies. The basic problems you can complain about are:

  • A service provider radiates an uncaring attitude and uses unfriendly tone both face-to-face and on the phone and shows that you are not a valuable client. The companies can miss and cancel appointments and/or repair works without informing the owners;
  • Workers leave a mess in the house after they finish the repair;
  • Construction managers or other professionals ignore issues and don't call back.

In case you've suffered from poor customer service you are free to file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Office of your state. The full list of the states you can find by following this link. After you choose the needed state, the page with relevant data will appear. You will get the link to the site, email address, and phone number of an appropriate institution. You can use a template offered on the website or create your own complaint.

Licensing Problems

This point among construction complaints is one of the most tricky and painful. In case the repair company was not licensed or its license was revoked or expired at the time of the contract, you are not eligible for the Recovery Fund. Regards licensing issues, you can file a complaint with a licensing board. Even if your contractor or repair services provider has a license, you can send a complaint against it as well.

Warranty Issues

Here are common cases for filing complaints about contractors:

  1. The problem is not bad enough to qualify for warranty coverage on certain services/repair work;
  2. The contractor started the repair or other works too late or was performing the necessary work for too long and the warranty expired;
  3. The warranty is non-transferable and the next house owner won't be able to use it and
  4. The company refuses to cover the cost of the repair. Here is an example of Choice Home Warranty complaint. The house owner wanted to cover air conditioner repair, but the company agreed to cover only $10. This sum of money was less than 0.3% of the needed amount (the actual monetary loss was $3,400):

    "Finally, we decided to pay the whole unit from our packet . The excuse was that those part were not cover in the contract; but they do not tell you that when you sign their contract by phone; they only want you to pay in advance for years and the whole amount from the front. I had a issue last year with my dryer also but they did repair after three weeks of waiting for repair."

    The company's representative responded to the review. The manager showed care and attached a phone number for contact.

Poor Repair

In case you are not satisfied with the scope of repair work (e.g. the repair is initiated but not finished) you are free to share your review at pissedconsumer.com. This example of poor repair occurred in a house of American Home Shield Company. The point is the following: the reviewer had a problem with an air conditioner and a thermostat.

The representatives of the company tried to insist on negligence on the house owner side. They refused to repair the air conditioner and even didn't bother to take care of the thermostat. After the house owner canceled their services at all, he charged the fee ($30). More details you can find in this video:

Home Improvement Scams

Here we have the list of the examples of typical home improvement fraud:

  • Contractors can offer you to make the repair using remaining materials. Usually, they tell that they did some job nearby and just passed your house occasionally. Moreover, they can tell you that these "leftovers" will cost you much cheaper than new materials;
  • Contractors may insist that your building has some code violations and you need to fix them right now. Usually, these words are accompanied with the request to pay for these immediate services in cash;
  • A representative of the company may ask you whether you want some free service (e.g. free carpet cleaning) and attempt to sell you new detergent or else.

Top 3 Tips to Avoid Home Improvement Scam:

  1. Communicate only with the person you know or the one who can provide the license. Even though you recognize the company’s representative feel free to ask him/her for the reason of unexpected visit. Please mind that no contractor could come to your home without previous call.
  2. Pay attention to the company's representative who wants you to sign some contract fast. Mind that you have the right to read the contract thoroughly before signing any paper and there is no need to do it in a hurry.
  3. After you get the contract for the further revision and say goodbye to suspected scammer, pay attention to the car number of this person. He might have out-of-state license plates or unmarked vehicle.

Payment Issues

Some of our reviewers suffer from financial problems, from a mortgage fraud and down to shady house financing. The list of common payment scams includes overpayment (the scammer sends you counterfeit check for you to pay), phishing (the scammer asks you about your credit card) and others. Here is the example of one of the payment issues that occurred in Texas.

A man wanted to buy a house by LGI Homes. The first issue was as follows: the representative didn’t want to show the house before it was sold. Only afterwards, had the potential buyer an opportunity to observe a bought house. LGI Homes representatives wanted the man to use their house financing, but the potential house owner was aware of the company's procedures and problems:

"That seems to be most peoples problem with this company is the shady money stuff."

Deadline Failures

This point may occur because of the main contractor and due to actions of subcontractors (e.g. electrician). Situations that future or current homeowners may become involved in may include construction delay, owner delay damages (e.g. house owner looses rent), etc.

Complaint against Clayton Homes described the following problems:

  • No reaction to complaints to the contractor;
  • Some works haven't been finished since the house owner moved into the house;
  • The repair service representatives told that the workers would come to the house and fix the problems but they never did so.

"I am very dissatisfied with the subcontractors that work for Clayton Homes. They do not finish jobs in a timely matter, I've had to call repeatedly and have been told several times it will be tomorrow or the next day, but they never show up or they call and say next week if the weather is good."

If you have a complaint about deadline failure, contact the contractor or the company that provided you with the repair services. Be straightforward but not rude in the description of the situation. In case the situation does not change (e.g. nobody contacts you to give the time frame during which the problem will be solved or else) you should contact the manager and escalate the issues with somebody else or in press if the manager won't give it a shot. 

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10 Orders Processing Issues

The last but not the least among complaints about contractors is dedicated to the breach of terms, the increase of cost due to changes in construction, plan errors, inconsistencies, and other order processing issues. For instance, here we have the review about Ryan Homes from the unsatisfied customer who was assured that the construction will start on the first day of the summer:

"It's now June 20 and now we are told construction won't start until August. No help from Ryan, they won't answer calls. As an aside, we are basically homeless, just relying on friends to crash with."

These are only 10 cases in which you are free to file complaints. You can witness or suffer from other problems. However, there is one basic point: you have rights and warranties to get special repair or to move in into your house within terms. So, in case your family was involved into any home improvement fraud or found out leaks, mold, holes in any part of your property and contractor ignores you, there are most effective ways to complain about all of these issues.

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  • home improvement fraud
  • Lgi Homes reviews

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal, medical, accounting, investment, or any other professional advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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