Home Improvement, Construction Issues Top List of Worst Complaints in 2020


No industry is free of issues, complaints, or obstacles. It doesn't matter how far we have come; there are always going to unhappy or unsatisfied customers. In the construction industry, takeoff services, quantity estimation, and labor costs have always been the root cause of problems. However, this year, the construction industry and home improvement made it to the top of the list as the industry with the highest number of complaints.

Complaints Related to Home Improvement and Construction

According to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and 2018 Customer Complaint Survey Study, the home improvement sector received the second-most consumer complaints in 2020, second only to concerns regarding cars and the automotive industry. It is the second consecutive year that consumer complaints ranked second for the construction and the home improvement industry.

“Home improvement and construction have always been in the top three of our survey,” stated Susan Grant, director of Consumer Protection and Privacy at CFA, further explaining “that is because, along with auto sales, these are very expensive transactions, and if something goes wrong, consumers are more likely to complain than if their toaster breaks down or they have some other minor problem.”

According to a recent survey, the majority of the complaints registered against the construction industry were for home improvement jobs, Construction takeoffs, and relevant activities. Estimating companies were also a hot topic in these complaints.

Construction issues in 2020

While there were literally thousands of calls and complaints regarding the construction industry in 2020, home improvement was on top of the list. “It’s hard to say what will affect the rate of home improvement,” Grant adds. “Certainly, low-interest rates put more money in consumers’ pockets to do home improvements, as well as programs like PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) which provide easily attainable loans for consumers to do certain kinds of energy-efficient home improvements.”

With the construction industry being in the top three for the last few years, let’s take a look at the top issues reported in such complaints.

Construction Industry Licensing and Raising Standards

Do you want to work with an unlicensed home improvement contractor? Do you want the industry to constantly change the current standards and have to redo everything from scratch? Are you also worried about the construction industry licensing issues and constantly raising the standards?

Well, a lot of the complaints were lodged against this particular problem. The licensing issues are on top of the list, and clients constantly complain about the constant changes in the industry standards and licensing issues.

Building Permits and Inspections

If you have ever opted for a home improvement project, then you must understand how hard it is to get building permits and pass those tedious inspections that are overseen by out-of-this-world inspectors.

Building permits are getting harder and harder to get with the rising trends in the construction industry. There are hundreds of variables involved in these permits, and it takes a long time to get a permit or to easily pass inspection. 


In simple words, any form of misrepresentation in construction takeoffs, shoddy work during the renovation or construction phase, and failure to have required licenses or to perform the previously agreed upon task results in a lack of professional services. This leads to complaints against the services in the construction industry. 

If you have ever had any construction work done, then you must understand that the contractor either takes too much time, charges too much money, or creates something that looks nothing like the initial design. This kind of poor services have caused a lot of problem in the industry, and a lot of complaints have been filed against this.

Electronic Signatures

Once everything is done, and the walls are all sealed up, there can often be a minor surcharge of electrical voltage or signatures. This happens due to a faulty wiring connection running through the walls. This can often translate into a lot of problems for the users and the residents, and the misbehaving electronic signatures can result in short circuits and other costly problems.

Worst Complaints in 2020

Retail Sales

If you have ever been a victim of false advertising and other misleading practices, then this qualifies as a complaint about the retail sales industry. The salesperson will do anything to convince the audiences to buy from them, and even use false, misleading, or deceptive marketing strategies to entice the customers. However, once the purchase has been made and the customers finally get to see the results, they are not promising.

Moreover, defective merchandise, problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards, and gift certificates are all different forms of complaints made against the retail sales industry in the previous years. Construction takeoffs from contractors can also be categorized under this genre.


When there are billing and fee disputes over the credit or debit, it is categorized as a complaint against the credit/debit industry.

When the lenders make a sudden change to the mortgage conditions, it is considered as a mortgage-related fraud and is one of the biggest issues in the housing industry for the past few years. Credit repair, debt relief services, predatory or shark lending, and various forms of illegal or abusive debt collection tactics are all under the category of credit/debit frauds and complaints.

Home Solicitations

Misrepresentations in terms of house selling, buying, and other forms of solicitations is another big area for complaints in the country.

Abusive sales practices where the customers are either harassed or driven out by force fall under the umbrella of home solicitation problems. Moreover, failure to deliver in door-to-door, telemarketing, or mail solicitations is also becoming a huge problem for the industry. The do-not-call violations are reportedly getting higher in numbers, and the complaint cells have received a high amount of such calls for these violations.

Home improvement and construction

Now comes the time to tackle these issues, and get ahead of the problems. "For a big, expensive investment like home improvement or construction, it's vital to find out what the applicable requirements are before you hire a contractor," Grant says. "Make sure your contractor has complied with them; that way, you'll be better protected if something goes wrong, and, hopefully, it will be less likely that something goes wrong."

It is well-advised that you double-check everything, including quantity estimation services, construction takeoffs, contracts, and other relevant items before moving forward. Double-check the license of the contractors and make sure that everything is up to the current standards so that you do not have to face any issues later on during the construction or home improvement phase.

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