ARIZONA HOME OWNERS ARE NOT BEING
PROPERLY PROTECTED FROM BAD CONTRACTORS
If you own a home in Arizona you will eventually have to hire a contractor to repair something. It is a difficult decision who to hire. We highly recommend: that you ask your friends for recommendations, that you check the internet for complaints, that you get several bids, and that you ask the contractor for several recommendations from previous clients. Lastly, don’t be rushed and get everything in writing. The key to not getting a bad contractor is that you properly do your due diligence so hopefully you will not get scammed.
However, nothing is perfect. You need to be aware that Arizona is failing homeowners with weak laws that favors the contractor and the poor performance of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC). Arizona does not have any Consumer Protection Laws which means the contractor can use false advertising without any fears of any repercussions. If the contractor’s advertising states that an organization recommends the company then call that organization to verify if that is true. Many contractors use Referral Services that recommend the company. You need to be aware that the Referral Service Company was paid for by the contractor and that it offers no guaranty. Don’t be scammed by slick advertising.
If the contractor does a bad job Arizona law protects him more than the homeowner. Arizona law requires you to file a complaint with the ROC and that you allow the contractor the opportunity to repair the problems. The Statute of Limitations is two years to file a complaint. But this ROC complaint needs to be immediately filed because you are going to have to live with the construction problems and not get them fixed by someone else. Arizona law does not allow the homeowner to refuse the contractor the opportunity to repair the problems even if the contractor threatens you or does not meet building and safety codes. Arizona does not have the California law which gives the homeowner a full refund of all monies paid on the project if the contractor’s license is Suspended or Revoked during the completion of your home repair project. That is not the case in Arizona and you are required to deal with and you are at the mercy of the bad contractor even if he has license problems.
The ROC is the state agency that licenses contractors and oversees their quality of work. The ROC oversees both licensed and unlicensed contractors complaints. There are over 40,000 licensed contractors in Arizona. The ROC investigates over 5,000 licensed contractor complaints and over 1,500 unlicensed contractor complaints a year. We have found that the ROC is not properly protecting homeowners which is documented by a state audit, the previous ROC director, and our personal experiences.
A state audit was completed by Debbie Davenport, Arizona Auditor General, on July 26, 2013. The audit reported serious ROC problems with the: wrongful closing of complaints, taking too long to resolve complaints, and failing to keep accurate records. The audit reported 122,000 of the 544,000 ROC records were duplicated and that 40,000 ROC records had inaccurate information. Another problem reported was that the ROC was slow in reimbursing homeowners on valid Recovery Fund payments because the fund had been drained by the state lawmakers for the general fund. The ROC agreed with the audit and promised to resolve the problems.
On an internet posting dated April 29, 2014 the former ROC Director, Fidelis V. Garcia, urged an investigation of the current ROC Director, William Mundell. Mr. Garcia reported the following ROC problems: current ROC leadership have no construction background, the quality of the ROC investigators is poor, that the ROC investigators work from their homes with cell phones which puts confidential information at risk, that the ROC no longer follows the law by prosecuting contractors for the nonpayment to their subcontractors for the work that they did, that the ROC does not provide public information, and that the ROC is an illegal provider of Recovery Fund trust monies to the state general fund.
On a personal note: Several years ago my home builder failed to properly treat the ground for termites which caused a termite problem. The ROC was very good and resolved the problem with a financial award to me which helped to correct the termite problems. We filed a complaint with the ROC about a bad contractor. Our ROC investigator told us he was overwhelmed with 85 cases because of cutbacks while working out of his home with no secretarial staff. It took nearly six months to get a wrongful decline for invalid reasons from the ROC. We were duped by the inaccurate information reported by the ROC’s website that the contractor’s license met all state requirement but that was not true. The ROC failed to follow proper procedures and waived the requirement for our bad contractor to see all the construction problems with the ROC inspector at the house inspection. Our bad contractor failed to pay one of the subcontractors that worked on our house. Now that subcontractor is refusing to give us the proper and needed certificate which proves that the work was properly done. Finally, the ROC is hiding its incompetence, procedure violations, and law breaking activities by refusing to provide public documents.
The ROC’s performance has plummeted. Now the ROC is being run by a political favored attorney, William Mundell, who was appointed in 2009 by Governor Jan Brewer. Mr. Mundell has no contractor background but he was a Municipal judge, state lawmaker, and Corporation Commission member. We have provided this information to the Arizona Ombudsman. This is the state agency which oversees and resolves problems that you are having with other state agencies.
We have asked Governor Doug Ducey to terminate the ROC Director, William Mundell, and hire ROC employees who are consumer orientated with construction backgrounds that follow proper procedures and state laws.
Mark and Carol Fairall
Former ROC Director Report:
On 02/03/2015 Governor Doug Ducey Fired the ROC DIRECTOR, WILLIAM A. MUNDELL.