California oversees building contractors to ensure that the public can trust the professionals that they hire. The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) provides crucial oversight to keep those with bad business practices from endangering the public.
The CSLB licenses professionals to keep those with a history of complaints or inadequate education out of skilled work. It also helps establish a standard of conduct for professionals operating in the state and gives consumers the chance to verify licensing and make complaints.
When a client is angry about the outcome of a project, they might approach the CSLB as a way to hold you accountable. There are multiple steps involved in the complaint process, which could include mediation. When will mediation be part of resolving a dispute about a complaint from a client?
The client will have had to bring a substantiated complaint against you
A client must have a verifiable complaint against a licensed professional under the authority of the CSLB. Provided that the circumstances meet those criteria, your dissatisfied client could potentially initiate a complaint against you that endangers your license from the comfort of their couch.
The online process begins with them providing certain details to the CSLB, who will then determine if the issue falls under their authority. This process can sometimes take a while and usually ends with the contractor receiving formal notice of the complaint and a recommendation to resolve the issue directly with the client. If your case falls under their jurisdiction and you cannot resolve things quickly between yourselves, the CSLB may facilitate mediation.
How does mediation work for professional disputes?
The nature of the issue could range from anything from the use of different materials than expected to frustration with an increase in the estimated total cost of the project. Whenever there is a disagreement between a contractor and the client that hired them, each party will typically have their own expectation about what outcome is fair and appropriate.
Mediation helps parties in a conflict find ways to compromise and resolve their issue. A mediator can guide your conversation and help both parties arrive at a solution that works for them. Mediation is not always the final stage in a complaint. If you cannot resolve it in mediation, the client might make a claim against your bond or possibly pursue a claim against you in court.
Successful claims that you don’t resolve might put your contractor’s license at risk, making it essential to handle these issues quickly and carefully.