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To qualify for arbitration, homeowners must be able to prove that:
Your Request for Arbitration is subject to a fee based on the size of your claim. The applicable fee must be paid within 10 days of your request for arbitration being approved, provided an arbitrator has been appointed. If you are filing a counterclaim, the fee is due when the counterclaim is filed.
Amount of Claim
Up to $1,999
Up to $4,999
$5,000 to $9,999
$10,000 to $24,999
$25,000 to $49,999
If the hearing is extended beyond four hours, an additional fee up to $150 per hour may be charged.
If you win your case, you may be reimbursed this fee as part of the award. If the arbitrator finds against you, this fee will not be reimbursed. This fee is not recoverable from the Guaranty Fund.
Send an original and two photocopy sets (3 complete sets all together) of your Application for Arbitration, as well as 3 copies of your contract to:
Home Improvement Contractor Arbitration Program
Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
501 Boylston St. Suite 5100
Boston, MA 02116
Generally, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) will review submitted applications within two weeks of receipt.
Incomplete Forms will be returned to the Claimant for completion. Completed forms must be received within thirty days or within the Claimant's period of eligibility for filing the request, whichever is later. The OCABR may reject a request that is not filed by the appropriate deadline.
Ineligible Requests that do not meet the basic criteria of the law will be rejected. The Claimant will receive a notice from the OCABR indicating the reason that the Request is ineligible.
Eligible Requests: The OCABR will notify both parties that the Request for Arbitration meets the minimum criteria for the program, and will inform the parties of the arbitrator appointed for the case. Both parties must submit the Conflict Checklist within 10 days.
Assuming the parties have no conflict with the arbitrator, the OCABR will send a notice to the parties that the case has been accepted.
How long will my case take?
Your Request for Arbitration will be reviewed within two weeks of receipt. If your case is accepted and the additional filing fee is paid, the arbitration firm will send a notification of acceptance letter to both you and the contractor.
Generally, a hearing will be held within 60 days of this acceptance date. You will receive notice of the hearing at least 21 days in advance. The arbitrator's decision will be mailed to you no later than 14 days after the hearing is closed.
What if the contractor is bankrupt?
If the contractor has filed for bankruptcy protection, you can not pursue arbitration without permission from the bankruptcy court. This means that you must petition the bankruptcy court for Relief From the Automatic Stay to allow you to pursue your claim. You can contact the Office of Consumer Affairs for further instructions and a sample Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay at (888) 283-3757.