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How to File a Complaint Against an Arizona Contractor (and More Options)

Beca Roberts - Arizona Contractor Complaints - May 14, 2024

Start by sending a contractor a demand letter.

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    Dealing with a dispute against a contractor for not showing up, doing a bad job, or breaking a contract? You may want to consider filing a complaint against the contractor with an Arizona state agency or a few other places we’ll discuss below. This article also discusses alternatives to filing a complaint, including sending a demand letter and suing a contractor in an Arizona Justice Court.

    Did you know we have a free tool powered by AI that helps you write a demand letter to a contractor? Check out our demand letter tool.

    Common Reasons to File a Complaint Against A Contractor

    Here are some of the main reasons people file complaints against contractors: 

    • Overcharging for a service or parts.

    • Bad quality work. For example, you paid a contractor to paint your house, and the paint starts peeling off in a week, 

    • Damaging Property. For example, you hired the contractor to fix your roof, but they ended up causing more damage instead. 

    • Not finishing the Job. Say you paid someone to paint the whole house, but they only painted half of your house as they got another higher-paying job.

    • Not doing what they agreed to in the contract. 

    Do Contractors Have to be Licensed in Arizona? 

    Generally, contractors (including “handymans”) need to be licensed if “the entire cost of the project, including labor and materials is over $1,000 or requires a permit by the local municipality.” 
    This is to make sure they know what they’re doing and that they do it correctly. If you’re thinking about hiring someone, it’s a good idea to check if they need a license for the kind of work they’ll be doing on your house. 

    Not in Arizona? Learn how to file a complaint against a contractor in another state.

    How to Check if a Contractor is Licensed in Arizona

    You can look up whether a contractor is licensed in Arizona by going to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors website. They have a search tool where you can search the contractor's name or license number to see if they’re registered and whether they have a good record. 

    First Contact the Contractor Directly

    Start with Informal Communications

    Before taking formal action, it’s often worth attempting to resolve the problem directly with the contractor; most contractors value their reputation in the community and are open to discussing issues to avoid negative reviews. If you’re facing problems with a contractor’s work on your home, try reaching out through a call or message to explore potential solutions together. 

    Send the Contractor a Demand Letter

    If informal communication doesn’t lead to a resolution, consider sending a demand letter. A demand letter is a formal letter detailing your requests, such as refunding an overcharge or completing unfinished work. The demand letter also serves as a warning that you’re prepared to take legal action if your demands aren’t met. 

    Reasons to Send a Demand Letter: 

    • A demand letter shows you’re serious about seeking a refund or a solution and willing to take action. 

    • Should you end up in court, the demand letter can serve as evidence that you tried to find a solution before legal action. 

    • The main reason for sending a demand letter is the possibility of avoiding court. Often, a demand letter can lead to a settlement without the need for court, saving everyone time and money. 

    Did you know we have a free tool powered by AI that helps you write a demand letter to a contractor? Check out our demand letter tool.

    Here is a video on how our demand letter tool works:

    Second, file a Complaint with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors 

    The Arizona Registrar of Contractors (“ROC”) offers a comprehensive system to handle complaints and disputes between homeowners and contractors.

    How to File a Complaint with the ROC: 

    1. Visit the ROC Website: Start by going to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors’ official website. 

    2. Find the ‘File a Complaint’ Section: Locate the complaint form and read the instructions carefully. 

    3. Complete the Complaint Form: Provide all necessary details about your dispute, including the nature of the work, the contract, any communication with the contractor, and evidence of the issue. 

    4. Submit and Follow up: After submitting, you’ll receive a confirmation and tracking number. Use this to follow up on your complaint’s status.

    What Happens After Filing a Complaint with the ROC

    1. ROC Review and Investigation: After you submit a complaint, the ROC will review and possibly investigate the contractor’s conduct. 

    2. Citation Issued: The contractor may receive a citation after the investigation. They will have 15 days to respond. Without a response, the ROC will impose disciplinary actions on their license. 

    3. Jobsite Inspection: An ROC investigator may schedule an inspection to verify if the complaint items meet Minimum Industry Standards.

    4. Written Directive: If the inspector determines standards are not met, the contractor is notified with a Written Directive to remedy the issue within 15 days. 

    5. Compliance Inspection: If still unresolved, another inspection will be scheduled to assess if the contractor corrected the issue. Failure to comply results in a citation drafted and sent to the ROC’s legal department for processing.

    6. Legal Processing: The ROC’s legal department will mail an official citation, giving the contractor 10 days to respond. 

    7. Administrative Hearings: If the contractor responds, the case proceeds to the Office of  Administrative Hearings for a decision. They will issue a hearing notice to all involved parties. If they do not respond, a default decision is given and will be noted on the contractor’s license and possibly a civil penalty. 

    8. Final Order: The administrative judge’s decision will be sent to the ROC, where they will be able to accept, modify or reject the judge’s decision in accordance with ARS 41-1092.08.

    9. The ROC will mail the decision to all parties. 

    Learn about the steps ROC takes after filing your complaint. 

    The ROC handles complaints as quickly as possible, but if you're waiting on a response and it's been over 3 weeks, getting in touch with them is the way to go.

    How to Contact the ROC

    • Phone: (602) 542-1525

    • Mail: 1700 W. Washington St., Suite 105, Phoenix, AZ 85007

    Receiving Money from the ROC Recovery Fund

    The ROC also has a fund known as the Recovery Fund to compensate you for what the contractor did. 

    There are specific requirements to be eligible to receive money from the Recovery Fund, here are a few of the requirements: 

    • The contractor’s license was suspended or revoked after you filed a complaint with the ROC. 

    • You must first file a claim with the contractor’s bond company before filing a claim with the Recovery Fund (all licensed contractors are required to have a bond). 

    • The contractors must of been licensed.

    Here are the steps for receiving money from the Recovery Fund: 

    1. Filing your Claim: Submit your claim electronically, or mail their form to: P.O. Box 18244, Phoenix, AZ 85005-8247 

    2. Review Process: Recovery Fund staff will review your claim to assess eligibility and damages. You’ll be informed about the outcome and potential payout.

    3. Payout Process: If a payout is approved, either party will have 15 days to dispute the decision. If there are no disputes, a check will be issued to you. 

    4. If Disputed: If there is a dispute, a hearing will be scheduled, and all parties will receive a notice. 

    5. The Hearing: A hearing will be held at the Office of Administrative Hearing, where the administrative judge reviews and possibly alters prior decisions. 

    6. Final Decision: The Registrar will mail the Final Recovery Fund decision to all parties. If approved, a check will be issued to you. 

    Learn more about the steps for the ROC Recovery Fund

    Third, File a Complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office

    The Arizona Attorney General’s Office can be another avenue for filing a complaint, particularly if you believe the contractor’s actions may have violated Arizona consumer protection laws. The Arizona Attorney General is the top legal advisor for Arizona; this office can investigate consumer complaints when you have been scammed by a contractor (they may also refer your complaint to the Arizona ROC). If the Attorney General’s office finds that your complaint is better handled by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, they will refer you to their office to file a complaint.

    Filing a Consumer Complaint: 

    • Consumer Information and Complaints: The Attorney General’s website offers resources for consumers to submit complaints against businesses that engage in unfair or deceptive practices. 

    • Online Complaint Form: You can fill out and submit your complaint online through the Attorney General’s official website

    For more information, check out our guide on How to File an Arizona Attorney General Complaint 

    Fourth, File a Complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) 

    The BBB allows consumers to file complaints against businesses, including contractors, to resolve disputes or highlight unethical business practices. Keep in mind that the BBB is not a government agency and cannot force the contractor to resolve your complaint. The BBB is a non-profit organization that serves as an intermediary between businesses and consumers. If the contractor doesn’t have a BBB profile or if they have a BBB profile but don’t respond to BBB complaints, this avenue may not be worth your time.

    How to File a BBB Complaint: 

    1. Click here to go to the Better Business Bureau website.

    2. Review the BBB criteria, then scroll down and click the button “File Your Complaint.”

    How the complaint process works:

    • Once you submit a complaint, the BBB typically sends it to the contractor within 2 business days. 

    • The contractor will have 14 days to reply to your complaint. 

    • You’ll receive an update from the BBB about the contractor’s reply, or if they did not reply at all. 

    The BBB also allows you to leave reviews on businesses. Visit their website here and click the button that says “Start a Review” 

    Keep in mind that if the contractor doesn’t respond to BBB reviews, you may be wasting your time filing a BBB complaint. 

    Fifth, File a Small Claims Lawsuit Against the Contractor

    If your dispute remains unresolved after sending a demand letter, filing a complaint with Arizona state agencies, and filing a BBB complaint, then filing a small claims lawsuit with an Arizona Justice Court might be the appropriate next step. 

    These courts offer a straightforward, affordable way to address issues like breach of contract or nonperformance without complex legal proceedings. Arizona Justice Courts are user-friendly and are there to help people quickly and efficiently find solutions to their disputes.

    Don't forget to check out our demand letter tool.


    Beca Roberts

    Legal Educator at People Clerk. Beca has a passion for breaking down complicated legal processes.

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