When hiring a plumbing professional to do work, it is every homeowner’s hope that all will go smoothly. It doesn’t seem impossible that the project will be completed within a reasonable time frame, at a price close to the estimated cost, and, if problems arise, a simple discussion between the two individuals will set things right. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and filing a formal complaint is warranted. |
If speaking directly with the plumber himself does not produce the desired results, the next thing for you to do is to contact the manager of the company. Explain the problem, and point out that it was not resolved to your satisfaction, and request that he speak with his employee regarding the matter. If you are unable to get a satisfactory resolution via management, the next step is to locate your local plumbers’ association, such as the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association. If the individual is a licensed contractor, the organization can provide mediation between the unhappy customer and the contractor. You may also contact your local chapter of the Better Business Bureau, which provides a range of services to help settle disputes between a business or contractor and homeowner. In many cases, both parties will sit down with a trained mediator to create a set of mutually satisfactory compromises regarding the issue.
Should you have reason to suspect that the individual has behaved in a similar fashion previously, or if a pattern of identical complaints emerges, you can also contact The Federal Trade Commission. This organization is a national consumer protection agency that collects and investigates consumer complaints about companies and their business practices, and can help protect others in the future.
In cases where intervention by local associations is unable to provide reconciliation on the matter, it may be forwarded to arbitration, where the grievance is heard by an impartial third party. That person then evaluates the information, and makes a final decision. In cases where this option is not available, the next step in seeking redress would be to file a formal complaint with the local licensing board. By law, all complaints filed with a licensing board must be reviewed and investigated. Disciplinary actions can range from fines up to the revocation of the individual’s license.
As a final resort, you can file a claim against the plumber or plumbing company in small claims court, provided the disputed amount is within a set limit, often less than $15,000. As with arbitration, both parties will present the reasons for their discontent to a judge, and provide evidence, if there is any. After hearing both sides, the judge will either present her decision right away, or in rare instances, both parties will receive notification of the ruling a few days later by mail.
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