Contacting the BBB is not a bad idea but they won't post anything negative until they've done an investigation and are satisfied that the complaint is justified.
The CSLB will probably send an industry expert (an independent and impartial licensed contractor who does not know your contractor or any of his subs, suppliers, etc). Have your punch list ready for the IE. But, as I've also been an IE for the CSLB and have taken dozens of assignments from them for several years, don't get too nit picky or it will backfire on you.
Don't complain about every run in your paint or screw that didn't get all the way screwed in. Be specific and show the IE the major problems you are dealing with. I once had an assignment whereby the homeowner had a punch list of over 50 items.
It was laughable and ended up being dsimissed when it went to mediation/arbitration because the arbitrator thought the claiment was totally exagerating and even lying about some of the line items and just decided to dismiss the whole thing.
Lastly, it will go to binding arbitration which means whatever the arbitrator decides will be it and there will be no opportunity to appeal to the CSLB. If you lose your only recourse would be to file a small claims action or a lawsuit if the amount exceeds the maximum limit. Good luck.
Web Reference: http://www.onthelevelcontractors.com
That's why exercising the right to file a complaint with the California State Licesne Board is as important as being able to file a complant with the Department of Real Estate when your RE professional lets you down.
Here's the direct scoop right from the CSLB in Sacramento. You can expitite the complaint by filing online. It sounds like time is of the essence in this case so I wouldn't file by snail mail as it will only prolong their response.
Complaint Process Against Licensed Contractors
This section talks about how CSLB addresses complaints and the procedures that CSLB follows.
Complaints involving a threat to public health and safety, and cases where consumers have suffered a significant financial injury are given the highest priority.
CSLB also prioritizes complaints based on:
The order of receipt;
The nature and seriousness of the allegations;
Available CSLB resources, including budget and staffing
Every written complaint is reviewed to determine if it falls within CSLB's jurisdiction. CSLB's Intake and Mediation representatives will send you a written confirmation that your complaint has been received. A notice is also sent to the contractor to encourage resolution of the complaint without further intervention by CSLB.
If the complaint is not resolved at this point, CSLB may ask you to provide additional information and/or documentation. You may also be contacted by a CSLB Consumer Services Representative (CSR). If mediation is appropriate, the CSR will contact you and the contractor and attempt to mediate the dispute.
If mediation is unsuccessful, the CSR may refer the complaint to the appropriate settlement option. These options could include referral to a CSLB arbitration program, assignment to an enforcement representative for investigation, or referral to alternative civil or dispute resolution methods. CSLB will determine the appropriate option, based on the facts of the case.
If the contractor's actions were not egregious and the contractor's history does not reflect a pattern of violations, the complaint may be closed with a warning letter to the contractor. A warning letter remains a matter of record and could support further action against the contractor if future violations occur.
If the CSR determines that the complaint requires further investigation, it will be assigned to an Enforcement Representative (ER). The ER's investigation will determine if there is clear and convincing evidence to support a violation of the Contractors License Law. The investigation may include interviews with you, the contractor, other parties to the contract and any other parties who can furnish relevant information.
CSLB administers two arbitration programs: a mandatory program for disputes involving alleged damages of $12,500 or less, and a voluntary program for disputes involving allegations of damage between $12,500 and $50,000.
Complaints must meet stringent criteria to qualify for referral to a CSLB arbitration program. CSLB staff will determine whether the dispute meets these criteria. To review these programs see Mandatory Arbitration and Voluntary Arbitration or you can order the guides by calling 800.321.CSLB (2752).
Violations of the law by a licensed contractor may result in a citation or charges against the contractor that could lead to suspension or revocation of the contractor's license. Citations may contain civil penalties of up to $5,000 and/or orders of correction requiring the contractor to make repairs to your project or pay you to hire others to do so. (If a disciplinary action is undertaken, the state Attorney General represents the CSLB to prosecute the case. The Attorney General is not counsel for the complainant, but counsel for the CSLB.)
Small Claims Court
Investigation by CSLB does not guarantee restitution to complainants. If your primary interest is to gain restitution, you should pursue the matter in small claims court or consult with an attorney. If you are considering legal action to recover damages of $10,000 or less, CSLB can provide you with information about filing a small claims court action, or you can consult the clerk of the small claims court for information and assistance. Additional "self help" information can be found online at http://www.courts.ca.gov. If your damages are more than $10,000, you may wish to consult with an attorney.
If you prevail in a civil or arbitration case against a licensed contractor, send CSLB documentation of the disposition of the case. CSLB will notify the contractor that the license will be suspended if the judgment or award is not satisfied.
As is often the case with legal disputes, procedure and timing are very important. It is also important that you stay calm and focused. Almost certainly you and your contractor will not reach a complete agreement but you may be able to reach an acceptable compromise.
If you recently bought your house your real estate agent may be able to provide a little assistance. Home buyers often ask their agent for contractor recommendations. If your contractor has received work from recommendations he will probably want to be careful not to offend a real estate agent through exaggerated claims.
I hope you are able to resolve your issues.
Top 2 agent nationwide at Keller Williams realty, the nation's largest
Over 30 years experience
Over 1,000 homes sold in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties
In the mean time you need to level with the contractor finding out what it takes to avoid a lien usually a mechanics lien on your property. Sometimes it is misunderstanding often it is poor workmanship or all the above.
I watch all contractors like a hawk as I have not found a perfect contractor yet. I have several at my disposal and constantly balance their workload and monitor work ethics. A few I have tried I will not hire them again. They do get paid from me.
BBB or Yelp may have an impact if you feel he has not does justice after trying to mend a dispute.
The risk are does he have subcontractors who have not been paid and will they too also lien your house? Did you sign anything in your contract with him stating that he could lien your house? Have you made payments to him with the statement on the check for the work completed? Have you made payments to him AND the subcontractor? Or just to him. Have you posted a Stop Work Notice on your property?
These things can get messy. You may want to go to the Better Business Bureau, the State Licensing Contractor's Board and get on top of this right away. Since I'm not an attorney I can not give legal advise and you may need that as well.