How to Complain to Contractors Effectively

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ruth berkovits

Subject: Contractor Svces

A contractor can do a wonderful job but when things disappear such as
gold necklace that belonged to my mother in law is it worth it especially
when it was hidden from view.


As a contractor I would like to give the other viewpoint. I pride myself on having happy customers and rarely have complaints, but even the best contractors aren't perfect on every job.

First and foremost realize that almost all problems are caused before the contract is signed. To be more specific, you need to let the contractor know what your expectations are. If you really need a contractor to be prompt, tell him, if you have noticed yourself being more quality oriented than most of your friends, tell him that too. The basic concept here is that you are entering into an agreement another party and both you have the right to know what they are agreeing to.

The bottom line is that the more that both the customer and the contractor communicate on how the job will progress before the contract is signed, the more likely everyone will be happy in the end.

Of course you also have the dishonest contractors who will promise anything and deliver almost nothing, but that is another story.



<If that is what the BBB considers an A+ company, I can not imagine what constitutes an "F" rating.>

A company that refuses to sign up for membership in the BBB often results in an "F" rating. The BBB is now nothing more than a scam. Stay with Angie's list for more useful reviews.



I used to always check contractors out with the BBB. But I've moved to TX and the BBB down here seems to be as bad as the contractors.

I just looked one up to whom they give an A+ rating. In the past 12 months this company has had 105 complaints. That's 8, almost 9, a month, more than 2 a week.

I picked through every one of them for details. Out of 105 I could find less than 10 who were satisfied with the results of complaining to the BBB. "Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB"

If that is what the BBB considers an A+ company, I can not imagine what constitutes an "F" rating.

Buyer beware, and
thank god for Angie's list who is basically doing the job the BBB is supposed to be doing.



Is there nothing you can do for poor work that you don't discover immediately? Something with teeth, I mean. I tried talking to the contractor, but his wife constantly ran interference and neither one would call me back when I phoned. Is there ANYTHING to do after the check has cleared the bank?

Brian Kemnitz


I could not agree more! It never seems to amaze me how often I see pore workman ship! I will say though that the best way to avoid a problem is to do your homework up front… Just because one service provider has an A rating does not mean that you would rate them the same. It is very important to have a clear concise idea of your expectations, but don’t stop there! Confirm that your contractor has fully absorbed and agreed to these specific expectations. Always get everything in writing, and check references before you hire. I like to see consumers check references on projects are similar to theirs. Also ask who will actually be in charge of your job site and get references that are specific to that person, if possible go see their work. Click the link below to see a complete list of “Questions to ask before you hire a painting contractor”



My wife and I try to do major homes improvements projects on our house every year this years was windows and gutters. Since Holmes on homes aired I’ve been very skeptical on just hiring any contractor for our jobs. The show has made me aware of the questions I should ask before hiring and signs I should look for in a good contractor. Well after seeing City Builders in Waterloo, Iowa in action I thought I had found the company to fulfill most of my home improvement needs. I hired them to do my gutters, soffit and fascia. Even though their quote was $600 to $800 more than everyone else I sign the contract which stated the work would be completed within five weeks because I wanted a company who I thought I could trust and who did quality work. As time progressed no City Builds a little over a month past by and I decided to give them a call to see what was going on. Talking to the representative I got the feeling that they had forgot all about me when he stated “it’s been that long”. He went on to say that they would get me at the beginning of the week which I would considered to be a Monday or Tuesday those days past along with Wednesday and Thursday and no City builder. I decided to call them that Thursday afternoon a little before 4pm to cancel so I could hire someone who wanted to make money. Immediately the representative got an attitude with me saying he will be sending me a bill for a permit that they had just pulled. I explain why I shouldn’t be responsible for paying for the permit. The representative didn’t like my response and hung up in my face and the following day I receive a bill in the mail. I personally would not recommend city builders for any work not do to their quality but just because of this representative and his really poor customer service.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.