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Where to complain about plumber or contractor if you live in Massachusetts.

If you want to complain about your contractor, listed below are your major options. If you are not sure which option is best for you, read "Where is it best to complain".

1. Massachusetts licensure boards:
Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation ("OCABR")
Home improvement contractors (HIC) in Massachusetts must be registered with the OCABR. To verify HIC registration and check if there were complaints against the contractor use the online Registration Lookup. You can also check if the home improvement contractor has lost any arbitration cases or has had any Guaranty Fund claims filed against him using this online search. To file a complaint against a registered Home Improvement Contractor in Massachusetts download and complete the HIC Complaint Application Form that can be found here.

Personal experience shared by our readers:
I recently went through the OCABR complaint process against a contractor in Massachusetts. There is one major thing I wish I knew going in: Put absolutely everything you want to say in the complaint form when you submit it. Also include any and all evidence, pictures, or other documents. At the hearing, you basically can't speak unless you are asked a question by the hearing officer, so if there is something you want the hearing officer to know, make sure it's in the complaint form. You are also not allowed to question anything the contractor says at the hearing, so try to anticipate how they may respond to your complaint, and include your responses in the complaint form. See 802 CMR 18.03 (11):

(11) Status of the Complainant as a Non-party For the purposes of the complaint process and the enforcement hearing, the complainant shall not be considered a party to the hearing. The complainant shall be deemed a witness only and shall not have the right of direct and cross-examination of witnesses, the right to object to evidence, or the right to appeal any final agency decision.

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation has a residential contractor's Guaranty Fund, which may compensate you for the actual loss (of up to $10,000) resulting from an incorrect or incomplete work of a registered Home Improvement contractor. You must have a court judgment or arbitration decision before you can take advantage of the this Fund.
For more information about Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractor Guaranty Fund go here.

Electricians, plumbers, engineers (including heating and ventilation engineers) and many other professions are licensed by The Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.
You can verify a Massachusetts electrician, plumber, etc license and find if there were any disciplinary actions taken against it using this online service.
To complain about your electricians, plumbers, etc in Massachusetts to the Division of Professional Licensure go here. Or download Application for Complaint form.
Links to various other complaints in Massachusetts are here.

Massachusetts Department of Public Safety
HVAC technicians and construction contractors (Construction Supervisors) in Massachusetts are licensed by the Department of Public Safety (DPS). To check a license issued by the DPS and to find information about prior complaints against it go here.
To complain against construction contractor or other licensees of the Department of Public Safety go here.

2. Attorney General of Massachusetts.
You may also complain about your contractor to the office of the Attorney General. You can either file an on-line complaint or fill it out on-line, download a pdf copy of your complaint, and send a copy of your complaint and supporting documentation to:
Office of the Attorney General
Public Inquiry and Assistance Center
One Ashburton Place, 18th Floor
Boston, MA 02108.

You can find more information on-line here.

3. Better Business Bureau:
Go to http://www.bbb.org/ and enter your zip code. When your local BBB page appear click on the "FILE A COMPLAINT" link and follow directions.

4. Massachusetts Small Claims Court: (For your information only - not a legal advice)
You can file a Small Claims lawsuit in the area where you live, or your contractor lives, or where the contractor has a place of business.
To start your small claims lawsuit file a "Statement of Claim and Notice of Trial" form and pay a filing fee with the clerk's office of a district court. You can find a directory of Massachusetts District Courts here.
You can get a "Statement of Claim and Notice of Trial" form from the clerk's office at the district court or you can download the forms from here.

  1. Maximum monetary limit of claims: $7,000;
  2. Attorney: not required, but allowed;
  3. Right to appeal: for defendant.

You can find more information about Massachusetts Small Claims Court here.

5. On-line complaints.
We collect all sorts of customer reviews, complaints, and comments here.
To post your comment on Google find your contractor in Google maps, and click the “more info” link next to the name of your contractor. On the following page, scroll down to “Reviews by Google users” and click on “Rate and review” link on the left.
There are many other websites that let you post comments and complaints about your contractor. Below you may find just a few examples:
1) http://www.ripoffreport.com (registration required),
2) http://www.complaintsboard.com/
3) www.complaints.com

Return to "the State's plumbing and contractor licensing departments".

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