Renovating your home can be stressful even under the best of circumstances. A contractor’s mistake can add to your frustration and cause unforeseen delays. There are several ways to address the situation, depending on the specifics.
Try to Resolve the Issue
If you believe a mistake was made, address it immediately with the person leading the team. Refer to the details in the contract describing how the work was supposed to be completed to support your position. Stay calm and be polite, but make it clear that the error is unacceptable and needs to be corrected.
If you believe it was an honest mistake and are confident that the team can fix it themselves, you can give them an opportunity to do so and set a deadline. There should be no additional cost to you. In some states, a homeowner who believes a contractor made a mistake and who doesn’t trust the company to fix it can hire a different contractor to correct mistakes made by the original contractor.
You should always make sure a contractor has adequate liability insurance coverage and is bonded before you sign a contract. Liability insurance and/or a bond can pay for damage caused by workers’ mistakes.
If the contractor is unwilling to fix the error or says it will take an unreasonable amount of time, you can withhold payment until repairs have been made. You may also decide to fire the company.
When to Seek Outside Help
If you believe the contractor is dishonest or performing substandard work, you can file a complaint with the body that licensed the company. Sometimes just threatening to file a complaint is enough to motivate contractors to fix their mistakes. You can also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
Some states collect fees when contractors obtain licenses. That money goes into a fund to compensate homeowners who suffered damage due to contractors’ mistakes. Find out if your state has such a fund.
Home remodeling contracts sometimes contain a mandatory arbitration clause. In that case, you may be able to have the issue addressed without hiring an attorney.
You might also consider suing the contractor in small claims court. Limits on dollar amounts for small claims cases vary by state. If your damages fall below that threshold, you can sue the contractor yourself. For a case with a larger financial loss, you may need to hire an attorney. The contractor might be willing to agree to a settlement to avoid a lawsuit.
Choose the Best Solution for Your Case
Sometimes contractors make honest mistakes, but in other cases, they cut corners and take advantage of people who placed their trust in them. If you believe a contractor made an error, understand all your options and seek professional advice.