Many customers hire a contractor to carry out a project that they’ve dreamed up in their heads. While some customers may have pictures showing what they want, many do not. Construction companies have to interpret what the customer wants, have them choose between a few different building materials, perhaps draw up a design and build from there.
The vision a customer has of their building, renovation or add-on may be a bit different from how it ultimately turns out. If it isn’t representative of what they had in mind, they may wage allegations that you changed something in the design or used different products from what you originally promised. How do you defend yourself against bait and switch allegations in instances like this?
How can contractors minimize allegations that they switched materials?
When working on a custom project, the best thing that you can do as a contractor is to request source material showing what your customer expects the finished project to resemble. You should draw up a model of the design to ensure it meets their specifications. You should have your clients sign off on their selections before commencing any project.
You may also want to source various types of building materials, ranging from more economical to expensive ones and create a lineup of them. You will want to be careful to put any selections they make in writing in the contract and have your customer sign off on each of them acknowledging their choice.
There may be instances in which materials become unavailable, or plans don’t work as well once the building process is underway as they did on paper. You shouldn’t assume that your customer will be okay with any changes, no matter if they involve higher quality finishes. You should always pass these decisions by your customer and have them approve them first (in writing, of course).
What to do if you’re facing bait and switch allegations?
There are instances in which a project that a customer imagines may not look exactly as they expected. That doesn’t mean that you didn’t follow the plans that they approved or that you used inferior materials, though. You may have done everything you agreed to but still have an unhappy customer on your hands. You’ll want to be careful in handling their dispute if you wish to avoid litigation.