When things go wrong because of shoddy or incomplete work, contract disputes, cost overruns, improper materials, or other home improvement problems that you cannot resolve with your contractor, you have several options available and sources of help.

 

Mediation Services

The Attorney General's Office and your local consumer programs have well-trained and experienced mediators who may be able to help you and the contractor resolve disputes without any additional cost to you. For information, and to see if you qualify for mediation, call the Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at (617) 727-8400.

 

Arbitration and the Home Improvement Guaranty Fund

If you hired a registered home improvement contractor you may be able to submit your dispute to a neutral arbitrator through the Home Improvement Contractor Arbitration Program. If you win an arbitration award (or a court judgment), you may be eligible to recover restitution.

 

Financing

Under law, home improvement contractors cannot act as mortgage brokers or agents of mortgage lenders in connection with residential home improvement transactions. Contractors cannot offer you financing for your project by offering, preparing, negotiating, or arranging a mortgage loan on your home for any lender.

You should know the entire cost of your proposed project, including any interest charges, and then comparison shop for the financing you need from reputable lenders through personal, bank, or home equity loans.

Remember, whereas all Massachusetts banks and their mortgage subsidiaries are government supervised, some mortgage companies, brokers, and lenders may not be licensed as required by state law. Before entering into any financing arrangement, contact the Massachusetts Division of Banks to check on a company's license and reputation at (617) 956-1501, or at (800) 495-2265.