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How to handle contractor disputes

On Behalf of | May 3, 2023 | Civil Litigation

When homeowners in Virginia hire a professional contractor to handle a job of any size on their home, they don’t anticipate any issues. However, when issues arise, homeowners must decide how to proceed. While many homeowners assume civil litigation is their only choice, other options are available to homeowners who need to settle a dispute with their contractor.

Local consumer offices

Most experts recommend that homeowners dealing with contractor disputes start small before moving into civil litigation. Many local governments have agencies to help homeowners who believe a contractor didn’t live up to their promises. If your city doesn’t have that option, each state has consumer protection offices.

Better Business Bureau

Most people consult the Better Business Bureau and other online reviews before choosing a contractor. A contractor’s grade from the BBB gives potential clients a good idea of how trustworthy they are. However, the BBB provides more than reviews.

Homeowners can contact their local Better Business Bureau and ask about any conflict resolution services they offer. While not every local BBB agency offers such services, homeowners can contact the BBB’s national offices.

Small claims court

Homeowners who cannot get a resolution through a local office or the BBB may have to take the contractor to small claims court. Typically, civil litigation in a small claims court doesn’t require homeowners to hire a lawyer. Instead, the homeowner and the contractor both present their side of the story to a judge who issues a ruling.

Professional arbiters

While these three options all present homeowners with a level of recourse, they aren’t the only options. Professional arbiters help to resolve thousands of conflicts between homeowners and contractors each year.

One of the most effective ways to avoid issues with a contractor is to talk to friends and family members who have previously hired contractors. Firsthand reviews provide a great deal of information about any contractor that you want to hire.