If I complain to the BBB about a contractor, is there anything they can do?

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Posted by: from Calgary
6/5/2014 at 10:30:15 PM

I feel so frustrated that consumers aren't protected by these bad contractors. He even said he had no problem if I forward my complaint to BBB as there's nothing they can do. Is that true?

He made our backyard fence last year but didn't use a metal detector. Our Neighbor who's an engineer will do the remaining left side of the fence and figured out that our fence should be moved further back (our lot is pie shaped at the back. We have a back lane). He refused to do it last year since it's winter time already. Until now it's not done yet. Though he installed the poles but keeps moving the date he's coming to finish it.

The contractor he hired this time to dig the holes told me that the job was poorly done. 3-5 of the fence are almost falling out because it was just stapled and the wood used isn't good as well. One is already rotten. We haven't even notice it. I told him that we wanted it screwed and the CEO of the company who is the contractors brother told me that it's a different price for using screw. And that we should be appreciative that his brother is finding time to finish it. If probably my father's here he couldn't do this.

He said he'll finalize it today, Thursday but moved it again to Friday and will finish it because he's going away for 2 wks vacation! I doubt he's gonna comply. There's nothing we could do but to wait until they come? If I'll go to a lawyer then I have to pay for it meaning add budget which I can't afford anymore. Apart from being disrespectful, they just don't care.

Any advise anyone?

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Date/Time6/6/2014 at 12:18:56 AM


The only thing you can do really is this. Provide him with a written notice giving him a deadline

to comply with what he promised you. Make sure it is traceable. Meaning either registered letter or by email. If he fails to resolve the issue, you have the right to have your project completed by a reputable contractor and file a claim with small claims court, you do not need a lawyer. You must make sure you have proof of his workmanship and the disaster he caused with your fence. Pictures of how he left your project and 2 to 3 contractors' testimonies.

Did you sign a contract?

Did you protect yourself from the start by asking for the following:

Did he provide you with his contractors license number?

Did he provide you with his business license?

Did he provide you with his Insurance certificate?

Did you research the contractor for reference letters, website, pictures of prior completed projects?

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Date/Time6/6/2014 at 12:24:33 AM

Hi Ivy,

Unfortunately no, the BBB does not have any authority whatsoever. It is not mandatory for a company to seek accreditation with the BBB either, although it definitely looks better if you are.

My advice would be to not have this contractor come and finish anything, he has already proven himself to be a fraud which then leads me to believe he may cause more damage when "finishing" the project. Overall, it could cost you more than you expect if he does finish it because you'll have to repair what he broke further.

You do have recourse though. I see you're in Calgary so the laws and procedure will be different, but in Ontario, we can file a Small Claims Court (civil law suit) against a person or company so long at it is under a certain value ($25,000 in Ontario). The application fee for this is usually very inexpensive, and should you win (it is likely you would) your court costs are covered in the judgment by the contractor. You do not need a lawyer to make a small claims case, however, it is advisable that you seek a lawyers council (free 1hr consultation) to discuss this in greater detail with them.

Moving forward, I would seek out a reputable contractor and have them come in to repair the faulty work and finish the remaining work to be completed.

In the future, always ask for references! If they do not provide them, or are slow to get them to you, dismiss them and find another contractor.

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Ivy in Calgary
Date/Time6/6/2014 at 10:48:11 AM

Thanks all for replying.

I called BBB & they told me I can forward this to small claims court.

Unfortunately, we didn't ask for his license. I was just given a calling card. He only has FB account with pictures but no comments either. The guy who made our deck 2yrs ago is not doing this business anymore so when I called him last year to do our fence, he recommended this one. We didn't have a signed contract either but just a quotation that didn't even specify exact amount for each item.

We were just so unlucky to have experienced this but it's a lesson well learned. Perhaps we were just too trusting... That's why homebuyers trust contractors because we trust they do their job well. No offense means to the good ones, though.

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Date/Time6/7/2014 at 10:38:35 PM

Sorry you had to experience this Ivy.

Check credentials. Check and be sure the contractor is insured. Get legitimate referrals and check them out.


James Fram

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