A reader: I recently had the exterior of my house painted. I hired a licensed painting contractor. However, I am extremely unhappy with the finished product. I paid several thousand dollars to have my house painted and they didn’t do any patching or priming. What are my options? I thought hiring a licensed professional would ensure me a quality job.
Action Line: While I am glad you hired a licensed painting contractor, the licensing is not the item to be questioned. However, the areas of your dissatisfaction don’t really have anything to do with licensing. Not having been able to review your contract, I’m guessing that the details were not included in the contract. You always need to be specific when agreeing to a contract.
In the case of painting, if you want the walls primed or patched, you need to be specific about that upfront and make sure those items are listed in your contract. All of those things add to the labor costs for the contractor and need to be discussed up front. It is unfair to the painter to assume that extra work will be performed without additional expense.
The same holds true for the types of paint used. Did you specify what type of paint or finish you wanted on the exterior and the trim? Unfortunately, the contract is everything when it comes to spelling out the details of what will be done.
I realize you are disappointed that the paint job doesn’t look like what you envisioned. Whenever you are dissatisfied with a product or service, the first thing to do is talk to the company in a calm manner and ask what can be done. Be reasonable. They are probably not going to be able to prime and repaint the entire exterior of your home, but maybe there is something they can do. Would an extra coat of paint make up for lack of primer underneath the initial coat? Are there certain areas that could be touched up to make them look better?
If your contract does specify priming and patching and specific types of paint, then the contractor should honor the contract and redo the job. If he refuses to do that, you can file a complaint with the BBB at www.bbb.org and with the Contractors State Licensing Board at www.cslb.ca.gov/. I assure you that both BBB and the CSLB take complaints very seriously.
A licensed contractor has insurance that protects you from liability if one of the workers was hurt on the job or if your home was damaged while the job was being done. It also means that state and local taxes are paid, which benefit our community as a whole. The bonding portion of the licensing process also ensures that you have recourse if the company ordered supplies without paying for them and you are held accountable for the expense by the supplier. For more information, connect with BBB for more Sunsational Living tips.
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.