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Options for pursuing a refund for shoddy home repairs

After you saved enough money or bit the bullet and took out a home improvement loan, you got estimates for the renovations and repairs you needed and hired the contractor who offered the best deal. Months later, your money is gone with the contractor, and you are less than satisfied with the final product. Perhaps the work is substandard, or maybe the contractor didn't even complete the work he or she agreed to in the contract.

Like many homeowners, it may be tempting to consider it a lesson learned and just bid a fond farewell to the money you spent. However, this is not your only choice. While it won't be easy, you can fight and potentially get your money back.

What can I do?

Of course, the best cure is prevention, and that begins with careful vetting of any contractor you consider hiring. This includes doing a thorough check on the contractor's reputation with other customers, suppliers and creditors. Knowing that the customers of the person you intend to hire have placed liens and filed lawsuits against the contractor will be a strong indicator to keep looking for someone to do your home repairs.

However, if you bypassed the background check, or if you did your due diligence and still ended up with a dismal job, you can try some of these steps:

  • Do not pay any of the money you still owe the contractor.
  • File a complaint with the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors.
  • Notify the Better Business Bureau.
  • Contact the consumer reporter for your local media outlet.
  • Inform your contractor that you are going to post pictures and details about the job on social media networks.
  • If that doesn't work, follow through with your threat to use social media against the contractor.
  • Obtain information about compensation through the North Carolina Homeowner's Recovery Fund.

For assistance with any of these options, you may benefit from hiring an attorney. Additionally, the more documentation you can collect, the better your chances of a positive outcome. Keep a log of every time you correspond with your contractor and detail the points you made and the contractor's response. Take pictures and journal how the faulty repairs or construction are negatively impacting your life. Your attorney will help you organize the information you need to pursue fair treatment from your contractor.

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