Finding a Contractor: Part 5

Keeping Records

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. 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 aren't satisfied, consider contacting the following organizations for further information and help:

  • The manufacturer of installed products
  • State and local consumer protection offices
  • Your state or local Builders Association and/or Remodelers Council
  • Your local Better Business Bureau
  • Local dispute resolution programs

For More Information - Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov

To order a free copy of How to Find a Professional Remodeler, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

NAHB Remodelers Council Dept. FT 1201 15th Street, NW Washington, DC 20005 National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators: www.nacaanet.org

1010 Vermont Avenue, NW Suite 514 Washington, DC 20005 E-mail: nacaa@erols.com

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 ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement.

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