Under the new procedures, the issuance of an ROC “directive” triggers an immediate blemish on the contractor’s record, regardless of the outcome of the complaint.
By Mike Thal, Lang Baker & Klain, PLC
Maintaining a complaint-free contractor record with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors has become more difficult, due to recent changes in the way in which the ROC responds to consumer complaints.
Under the new procedures, the ROC’s “Corrective Work Order” has been replaced by a “Directive,” the issuance of which results in a mark on the contractor’s record for public view.
Prior to the procedural change, if an ROC inspector determined that a workmanship complaint was valid, the ROC issued a Corrective Work Order to the contractor. If the contractor remedied the issue within 15 days, the complaint was considered to be resolved and the contractor’s record was not affected.
Now, the Directive triggers an immediate two-year blemish on the contractor’s record. It is issued without notice and cannot be headed off by the contractor’s prompt remedial action. Even if, after a hearing, the complaint is found to be without merit, the fact that a Directive was issued remains part of the contractor record for two years.
After the complaint is resolved - whether by appropriate action by the contractor, settlement with the customer, dismissal by a hearing officer, or further action against the contractor - the record will simply be updated to reflect the outcome. That will provide little comfort to contractors who are wrongly forced to serve two years in competitive purgatory for baseless or easily resolved allegations of poor workmanship.
The threats to contractors do not stop there. If an ROC inspector finds no cause to issue a Directive for poor workmanship but, in the process of the investigation, finds that the contractor, for example, failed to comply with any one of several contractual requirements set forth in A.R.S. § 32-1158(B), the inspector may issue a Directive for non-compliance, which inflicts the same two-year damage on the contractor’s record as a finding of poor workmanship.
As a result of these changes to the ROC’s complaint process, it is more crucial than ever for contractors to ensure that potential complaints are handled with the utmost attention and care. It has also never been more important that a contractor’s contracts be in compliance with the governing statutes. For more on that topic, see our May 2013 Beasesheet article, “Compliance Update: Arizona Registrar of Contractors.”