Got gripes? The people of Massachusetts sure do. When they collectively tried to boil down what ticked them off most, home improvement contractors topped the list.
According to a press release issued by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, consumers sent about 30,000 complaints to the office in 2009, of which 5,000 were about home improvement contractors. That might not seem so bad, but those numbers were actually recorded after the Consumer Affairs took over contractor regulation on July 1, 2009.
“Home improvement projects are important to families for both financial and lifestyle reasons. It is important that consumers know they are using a reliable, licensed, responsible contractor,” said Undersecretary Barbara Anthony. “Consumers need to research local contractors, make sure they are licensed and have favorable recommendations, and create a contract that protects their interests throughout the project.”
It seems that people had some pretty legitimate gripes, including permit issues, deposit disputes, and contractors just ditching the projects altogether. Raymond DiCiaccio was a victim of the latter. He did get $10,000 from the state’s Guaranty Fund his troubles, but it hardly seemed worth the pain.
“The project started off well, but after a while, things weren’t getting completed. We trusted the contractor to do the work and paid some money when we didn’t have to, and then he abandoned us,” DiCiaccio said. “We learned some lessons the hard way about sticking to contracts and making sure we didn’t pay for things until they were done.”
If you live in Massachusetts and you want to file a complaint or just get the lowdown on the state’s least favorite contractors, call 888-283-3757.
By Rachel Cericola