US consumer’s remodeling complaints rank #2 behind auto industry complaints
"Home improvement also topped the list of worst complaints"
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) released its annual Consumer Complaint Survey Report for 2018 and once again the auto and home improvement industries battled for the #1 and #2 spots on the list of most complaints by industry.
Thirty-five consumer agencies from across the country participated in the report. These agencies handle complaints from consumers regarding a number of traditional industries including travel, retail, home improvement, auto repair and medical services and new sectors like birth surrogacy, internet sales, immigration assistance and home companionship services.
Home improvement also topped the list of worst complaints, according to the report. These include complaints of financial loss, work paid for but not performed and problems that made otherwise usable homes unlivable. The two most frequent complaints in home improvement were shoddy work and failure to start or complete jobs.
An example of the kinds of complaints received:
- A construction project in Montgomery County, Maryland involved two new housing developments where the roofing sub-contractor installed specialty shingles imported from Canada. The sub-contractor failed to follow the installation instructions, resulting in the shingles flying off the roofs.
- Concerned with the safety of her autistic son, a consumer gave a contractor a $1,805 deposit to replace a dilapidated fence in the back yard. The contractor promised to begin the work within eight weeks. Several months elapsed, however, without any work being done or even a date set to start it.
- A woman asked a Pinellas County (FL) Consumer Protection for help after the new roof she paid $14,600 for leaked worse than the old one is replaced.
The report also includes advice to consumers who find themselves in similar situations as the complainants:
– If the contractor’s work doesn’t look right to you, hold off on making the final payment until you resolve the issue. Ask your state or local consumer protection agency for advice.
– Be sure the contract (you sign) specifies the date that the work will begin.
– Don’t be pressured into paying for something you never agreed to buy.
The complete report can be downloaded here.