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Consumer Protection

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The Complaint and Mediation Process

Guidelines for property owners who can file a complaint and the most common dead​​lines

Alleging negligence or improper construction work or breach of a construction contract:
  • Regarding a new structure:  the complaint must be recei​ved within one year from the date the structure was first occupied OR within two years of substantial completion of the structure, whichever is earlier
  • Regarding an existing structure:  the complaint must be received within one year from the date the work was substantially completed or the date work ceased.
​​In all cases:
  • The complaint must be filed against a licensed contractor AND
  • You must give the contractor 30 days’ Pre-Complaint Notice by certified mail to the address on record with the board stating that you intend to file a complaint with the CCB. 

Pre-Complaint Notice
​ ​

There are two processes through which to file a complaint, Residential and Commercial.  The process is based on the type of structure that the construction work was performed on.

These are the three structure types:


A residential structure includes, but is not limited to, a site-built home; a structure that contains one or more dwelling units and is four stories or less; a condominium, rental residential unit or other residential dwelling unit that is part of a larger structure (if the property interest in the unit is separate from the property interest in the larger structure); a modular home constructed off-site; a manufactured dwelling; or a floating home. An appurtenance (such as a sidewalk, driveway, deck, fence, garage, or shop building) to one of these structures is also considered part of a residential structure.

Small Commercial

(1) A structure that is not a residence with a ground area of 10,000 square feet or less and a height from the top surface of the lowest flooring to the highest interior overhead finish of the building of 20 feet or less; (2) an appurtenance (such as a sidewalk, driveway, deck, or fence) to one of these structures; (3) a structure that is not a residence that is a leasehold, rental, or other unit and that is part of a larger structure, if the unit has a ground area of 12,000 square feet or less and a height from the top surface of the lowest flooring to the highest interior overhead finish of the unit of 20 feet or less; or (4) A structure of any size that is not a residence for which the contract price of all construction to be performed on the structure does not total more than $250,000. 

Large Commercial

Any structure not fitting the above definitions. This includes work on a street, a public works project, an apartment or condominium building more than four stories high, a structure not used as a residence that is more than 10,000 square feet in ground area or more than 20 feet high, or a leasehold or rental unit in a larger structure not used as a residence that is more than 12,000 square feet in ground area or more than 20 feet high.

For all Residential and some Small Commercial complaints:

  • ​You are required to give the contractor a 30-day pre-complaint notice by certified mail prior to filing the complaint with the CCB.
  • You must file the completed complaint form, a copy of the pre-complaint notice, proof the pre-complaint notice was mailed by certified mail, and contractual relationship documentation, with the CCB for consideration and review.

For all Large Commercial and some Small Commercial complaints:

  • ​You are required to bring an action on the dispute against the licensed contractor in a court of competent jurisdiction or initiate a proceeding to resolve the dispute through binding arbitration before filing a complaint with the CCB.
  • You must deliver to the board and the surety a copy of the litigation action (court or arbitration) and a completed complaint form by certified mail, return receipt requested, no later than the earlier of:
    • ​​The 90th day after filing the court action or after filing/making the arbitration demand or other initiation of arbitration;
    • The 14th day before the first day of trial or arbitration; or
    • The 30th day before: 
      • ​the court issues a judgment in the action, or 
      • the arbitrator issues an award on the arbitration​
  • ​​For other requirements, you may wish to review ORS 701.146 or contact the Dispute Resolution team.

To file a complaint regarding a Residential or some Small Commercial structures, you are required to first send the contractor notice that you intend to file a complaint.  This notice must:

  • ​State your intent to file a complaint with the CCB,
  • Be mailed to the contractor’s address on record with the board, 
  • Be mailed by USPS ​certified mail, and
  • Be mailed at least 30-days before you file the complaint.

If the pre-complaint notice is returned or if the contractor refuses to accept delivery, you can still file your complaint 30 days after you mail the notice by certified mail.

Important:  Keep a copy of the pre-complaint notice and proof the notice was mailed to the contractor by certified mail.

Pre-Complaint Notice

There are strict time limits for filing a complaint.  All complaints must be filed using one of these forms and you will select the form based on who you are as the filer:

You will be contacted by our Dispute Resolution team after your complaint is reviewed to determine if the CCB has jurisdiction.  There is a $50 statutory processing fee for most complaints.  We ask that you wait to pay this fee until payment is requested by the CCB.  

For more information about the Dispute Resolution process, see Resolving Disputes​. 

Once a complaint is received, a Dispute Analyst is assigned to review the complaint and ensure the agency has jurisdiction.  Once jurisdiction is established:

  • The $50 statutory processing fee will become due and the Analyst will request the complainant (filing party) to pay the processing fee.
  • The Analyst will typically assign the file for mediation.
  • Mediation is a voluntary process provided by the CCB to help the parties ​​avoid a costly legal process.  If both parties elect to participate, mediation will be scheduled and both parties will be notified of the date and time of mediation.  ​
  • Please note:  The only path to access a contractor's bond is through a signed judgment from the court.
Tip: ​​​ If you think you have a dispute, file a complaint promptly.  The amount available through a bond is limited and there may be multiple people seeking restitution. ​​​​​​​​​

Overview & Common Questions

Mediation is successful when both parties actively engage in the process. Approximately 70% of disputes are resolved in this manner. The most successful mediations occur when both parties arrive prepared, ready to participate, and have direct authority to make final decisions. Please review the information below to ensure the most successful mediation possible.

The mediation process is not intended to render a decision regarding fault. Rather it is designed to bring both parties into a conversation and ultimately reach a successful settlement of the dispute.  Because of this, it may not be necessary to review the work in question.  In these cases, mediation by telephone is appropriate.  

It is important to remain respectful during the mediation process so that both parties can be heard. This ensures that the mediator can understand the relevant facts and increases the likelihood of reaching an agreement.

Mediation Schedule:
You will receive an email or call from the Mediator with the date and time for your mediation. You will also receive reminders by email, text, or phone.

Settlement Agreement:
If a settlement is achieved, the mediator will prepare a written agreement that captures the terms for both parties to sign. Settlement Agreements are created and signed at the time of mediation for on-site mediations or they are emailed to both parties  for telephone mediations. Settlement agreements are binding contracts. Both parties may be bound by the terms of the agreement, therefore, a breach of the settlement agreement is handled in court and may also result in a license suspension for the contractor.

What happens if mediation is not successful?
If settlement is not achieved during mediation, a Dispute ​Analyst will send ​​the claimant a notice to file in court. If a claimant does not file in court in a timely manner, the file will be closed. The file may only be reopened within 60 days of a closure and  must have a court filing. Small Claims court has a $10,000 limit while Circuit Court does not have a limit. In many cases a Circuit Court filing may require an attorney and the bond cannot pay attorney costs. Consumers can only access payment from a bond when they have obtained a certified judgement in their favor that goes unpaid by the contractor.

Bond payout will take at least 60 days from the date CCB receives a certified judgement.  If multiple claims are filed within the same 90-day period, payment may be held until resolution of all claims. This is to avoid a “race to the bond” and increases the likelihood of recovery to similarly situated claimants.​​

Residential and Small Commercial Dispute Resolution Services - Frequently Asked Questions and Answers 

Q: My contractor was licensed when they started the work but now they are expired or suspended.  Can I still file a complaint?
A: As long as the contractor was actively licensed at one point during the work period and the current property owner has a direct contractual relationship with the contractor, CCB can likely take the complaint.

Q: What is a direct contractual relationship and why does it say current property owner?
A: If you have work done before selling the property and defects are found after the sale but within one year of the end of the work, neither party may file a valid complaint unless there is an assignment in the sale agreement documents that links the new owner to the contractor (you may need legal advice from a real estate attorney). The current (new) owner did not hire the contractor so they could not file the complaint and the previous owner had the direct contractual relationship, but they are no longer the owner. 

Q: My 30-day pre-complaint notice was returned undeliverable, unclaimed or refused, what do I do now?
A: Under the law, by mailing the pre-complaint notice by certified mail to the contractor’s address of record at CCB you have met your obligation. The contractor was legally served on the date you mailed the pre-complaint notice and after the 30 days has elapsed, you may file your complaint.

Q: I’ve sent the pre-complaint notice by certified mail to the licensed contractor and 30 days has passed. What happens next?
A: You need to fill out the appropriate complaint form on our website, list the items in contention and submit it to CCB.  You may only file a complaint beginning 30 days after the pre-complaint notice is mailed and not later than one year after the last day of work on the project. There are a few exceptions, so please call 503-934-2247 if you are close to the one year filing deadline to see if any exceptions apply.

Q: What happens after I file a complaint? 
A: One of the CCB Dispute Analysts will review your complaint and make sure it is within our jurisdiction. If the work was performed on a residential or small commercial property, the work was done less than a year ago, and the complainant must also have a direct contractual relationship with the contractor​, the Analyst will send a letter to notify both parties that the complaint is within CCB jurisdiction. The complainant will then need to pay the $50 filing fee and the complaint is assigned to a Mediator for either an on-site or telephone mediation of the dispute.

Q: How does CCB decide on the t​ype of mediation (on-site or telephone)?
A: If the workmanship defects have been corrected by another contractor it would likely be telephone mediation since there is nothing to see at the site. If the work is still incomplete, the complaint would likely result in an on-site mediation with the contractor and the property owner.

Q: Why can’t CCB force the contractor to pay me my money? 
A: The CCB is not a decision making entity. Our role established by the legislature, is to assist the parties in settling the dispute prior to having to spend the time and money going through litigation. We do this by holding mediation, where the mediator is there to help the parties through negotiations and reach an agreement.

Q: What is the mediation and how does that work? 
A: The purpose of the mediation is to attempt to resolve the disputes to avoid what can be a costly and lengthy litigation process.  This could be that the contractor completes or corrects the items in contention or there could be a monetary settlement. In either case, both parties need to be prepared to make a decision at the mediation. The mediator is not going to be interested in “he said - she said” or text and email trails. The mediator will not let emotions get in the way of a settlement and they are not biased toward either side, they just need to find a result that will resolve the dispute.

Q: How will I know what a reasonable monetary settlement is? 
A: If a homeowner has replaced the original contractor or has estimates to correct the workmanship issues in the complaint, they would have an idea of the cost to correct the work. If the homeowner has not had the work corrected yet, having estimates is going to be a very good idea to have on hand. That gives us a starting point for negotiation.

Q: The mediator has met the contractor before. Isn’t that a conflict? 
A: The mediator may have been doing this work for as much as 15 years in your area. It is not uncommon for the mediator to have negotiated with your contractor in the past. If the mediator has any direct relationship with the contractor they will declare a conflict prior to the mediation and the complaint is assigned to another mediator that does not have a conflict of interest with the contractor or property owner.

Q: How often are these disputes settled at the on-site mediation?
A: Typically about 70% of the disputes are resolved at mediation when both parties participate. Keep in mind that CCB mediators are not going to assign blame or fault for the dispute. Their job is simply to find a resolution and end the dispute.

Q: What happens when we have an agreement during mediation? 
A: The mediator will write up a settlement agreement at the meeting and both parties sign the agreement. The complaint remains open until the terms of the agreement are completed. We don’t like to let agreements reach beyond 6 months. 

Q: If mediation is not successful, what happens next?
A: When mediation is not successful, the complainant must file in court in order to keep the complaint open. The Analyst will send a letter advising the complainant that they need to file in court and provide the Analyst with a copy of the court filing document within 30 days in order to recover any damages from the contractor or the surety bond.

Q: I can’t get a court filing within the 30 days so what do I do?
A: Stay in contact with your Analyst. If you file in small claims court for your county, the process is quick and simple in most cases. Filing in circuit court generally requires an attorney and can take longer to develop the complaint, so be sure to stay in communication with your Analyst.

Q: I couldn’t get the court case filed and the Analyst sent me a letter saying the case was being closed. What do I do now?
A: The Analyst can reopen the case if you give them the court filing document and the case was closed no more than 60 days prior. Once 60 days has passed from the date of closure, the Analyst cannot open the complaint file again.

Q: My damages are about $12,000 and small claims court has a $10,000 limit. What do I do next?
A: The residential/small commercial surety bond does not cover any attorney fees. You will need to decide whether to file your complaint in small claims court and accept a maximum judgement of $10,000 with no attorney or file in circuit court and present your case with an attorney. Attorney fees can run into tens of thousands of dollars if you have to go to a circuit court hearing. Only you can decide the best path to follow with where you choose to file your case.

Q: I don’t want the hassle of going to court but I still want to be paid for the damages and mediation was not successful. What now?
A: The ONLY path to recovery from the surety bond is with an active CCB complaint AND a court judgement or arbitration award. If you do not go to court or through the arbitration process, you cannot collect from the surety bond.​

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Report Illegal Activity

Report unlicensed contractors

If you are aware of unlicensed contractors working on Active jobsites that are located IN Oregon, you can report the activity to the CCB.  A field investigator may follow up on the reported activity.

  • We investigate these types of violations of contractor law:
  • Working without a construction contractors license
  • Claiming to be exempt from workers’ compensation while having employees 
  • Failing to display a CCB license number on most advertising
  • Working with pre-1978 homes without a special lead-safe license
  • Hiring unlicensed subcontractors
  • Working on projects without the proper license endorsement (you’re a residential contractor working on a commercial project, for example)
  • Working without the required surety bond or general liability insurance.​

Report Contractor Activity

Use the CCB Tips line to report:

  • contractors working without an active license or
  • suspected illegal construction activity ​​​​ without​ an active jobsite address

Please submit your tip or send an email to
​​Submit tip about illegal construction activity
​​Please send all relevant information available to support your complaint so that it may be reviewed in a timely fashion.  Some examples of helpful information are the name and phone numbers of unlicensed contractors performing work, company name, links to advertisements, pictures, or websites of unlicensed contractors.​​​

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Paying DRS Filing Fees

DRS filing fees should only be paid by the individual filing a complaint against a licensed contractor.  Please do not pay the $50 fee until requested by the Analyst once jurisdiction has been established.

To pay for your DRS filing fee by phone, call the DRS team at 503-934-2247. ​​

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Consumers: Rules for Contractors

Statutes and Rules Governing the CCB and Oregon Contractors

​​Oregon Revised Statutes - Chapter 701

Oregon Administrative Rules - Chapter 812