Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I frequently get emails from homeowners asking for help regarding their
home remodeling contractor. Usually the contractor has obtained
thousands of dollars from the homeowners before the job has begun, then
begins to show up less often and becomes difficult to reach. Much of
the time the contracts they have entered into with the contractor are
vague and the scope of work is less than detailed. Many homeowners are
confronted with the contractor asking for more money than was agreed
upon via the contract. Not knowing their (homeowners) rights, they hand
it over even though they don't really understand why the need for the
additional money but they "trust" the contractor; some are intimidated
and just don't want to create any problems.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to be in control of your home remodeling
project be it big or small. Knowing your rights from the get go and
having a well written contract that protects you is key to having that
control. If you're adding on to the square footage of your home it,
getting an attorney to review your contract is highly recommended.

Knowing your state's contractor laws, what the legal dollar amount or
percentage of the contract that can be obtained from the homeowner to
start the project are other considerations. I cover all of this on my
site with href="http://www.contractorsfromhell.com/hiring_remodeling_contractors.html">Tips
on Hiring Home Remodeling Contractors.

This past week I received a good example of why everyone homeowner should have an
attorney review their contract. A woman in California is shocked to
find herself at odds with her contractor and cannot believe how his
personality has suddenly changed to the point where he begins yelling
at her. Not surprising to me but you can read more about this woman and the problems with her contractor on my site.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This past week I have received several emails from California consumers
who are in the midst of remodeling their homes. Their questions all
have to do with dealing with bad home remodeling contractors who have
taken their money and have failed to perform the work according to the

One contractor refuses to take their calls or promises to meet with them but becomes a no-show. Another contractor has racked up over $50,000 in materials, refuses to give the homeowners' any receipts or proof of material purchases. Even stranger,
the materials supplier refuses to provide the homeowners with any
information about "their account" until six months later when the bills
have not been paid by the contractor. Then the material supplier sends
them a bill stating that there is "a problem", provides them with
invoices and slaps a mechanic'slien on their property. To add insult to
injury, the invoices include materials purchased for other jobs the
contractor had going but put them on this homeowners' account.

Another woman wrote asking for help for her father stating that he didn't do
his homework. The so called contractor took a large deposit and failed
to perform according to their contractual agreement, Moreover, she
checked on the guy's license and it seems that it has been revoked
since 2004. The license the contractor gave initially belongs to someone else.

None of these scenarios are unusual - and that's a sad statement of facts.
I have been getting these kinds of emails over the last eight years and
it only enforces my position on how little protection homeowners have
and their recourse is costly and the outcome not all that great.

The one common denominator these homeowners share is that none of them
filed a complaint with the Contractors State License Board yet all of
them wanted to know what course of action they should take. When
problems occur such as these, consumers should file a complaint with
the CSLB and if warranted at some point, consult with an attorney who specializes in contruction law. On my website - contractorsfromhell.com - I cover the steps that consumers should take when they encounter problems with their home remodeling contactors.

My point here is to remind consumers that they must take a proactive
stance should they find themselves involved with an unscrupulous
contractor because they didn't do their homework. File that complaint,
consult with an attorney and be prepared for what may be a ridiculous
fight. Ridiculous because of the lies and garbage the unethical contractor
will throw at you. Protect yourself and do your homework before hiring
a home remodeling contractor.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Who knew remodeling your home could become a horrifying and eye-opening experience about unscrupulous individuals with a license to destroy your plans and a government that allows it to happen with little oversight?!!

With so many emails from homeowners sharing their experiences and frustrations and many of you wanting to write letters to state officials demanding change, I say-yeah! Go for it - write those letters and send a copy to contractorsfromhell.com so we can support and document your efforts.

Earlier this week I received an email from a woman in California that brought up this issue and she was angry and shocked that what happened to her with her smarmy contractor cost her financially as the contractor declared bankruptcy and simply got another license and continues to work. And according to her, he's figured out a way to beat the system. Moreover, she believes the Contractors Board to be incompetent and wants to start a letter writing campaign to the Legislature to effect policy changes that govern the CSLB as well as contractors.

So I want to share with and enlighten all of you who have written asking (and criticizing) why is it that the government allows unethical contractors to continue to harm homeowners and the contractors doing so continue to get away with it. It all boils down to the Legislature who is driven by special interest groups - i.e., the Building Industry - who contributes a great deal of money to keep their interests and their support or rejection of bills before the House or Senate a priority. If it's good for consumers BUT should Industry believe it limits their interests and leaves their members (contractors) vulnerable to discipline, it ain't happening. Period. The pressure on the lawmaker to back off and reject the bill will be made known loudly by Building Industry representatives and that Senator or Assembly person will concede. Shameful but true.

Having worked with the Center For Public Interest Law in supporting consumer protection bills, as well as attorneys and the CSLB, I have been enlightened as to what really goes on behind the scenes and it's dispicable for the most part as to who calls the shots. Being a constituent really doesn't have a whole lot of influence with the exception of getting your vote at the ballot box.

I would like to think that at some point we could make a difference; but that would take millions of letters and phone calls to your representatives, not just a handful. And a whole lot of media attention.