Complaint - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Who Can/Should File a Complaint?
Anyone may file a complaint-a consumer, a licensee, a building official. The Board will review each complaint regardless of the source. A complaint should be filed by anyone who believes that a licensee or a candidate for licensure of the Board has or is engaged in illegal activities which are related to his/her professional responsibilities. A complaint should also be filed against anyone who may be practicing architecture without a license.
The most effective complaints are those that contain firsthand, verifiable information. While anonymous complaints will be reviewed, they may be impossible to pursue unless they contain documented evidence of the allegations made.
If you are harassed by the person about whom you have complained, notify the Board immediately.
- How Do I File a Complaint?
The Board provides a Consumer Complaint Form (PDF, 190K), which requests specific information needed to initiate a formal complaint. Please complete all sections of the form and provide a statement explaining the nature of your complaint. Include as much detail as possible and any documentary evidence you might have. It is NOT necessary to refer to specific sections of the law which have been violated. The emphasis should be on providing necessary factual information rather than conclusions.
Alternately, you may file your complaint using the online form available on the Department of Consumer Affairs’ website.
- How Are Complaints Processed?
After the Board receives your complaint, you will be formally notified of its receipt and that the Board is beginning the review process. If your complaint concerns something outside our jurisdiction, we will let you know if another state or local agency might be able to help you, or if you should seek alternative means of redress (i.e., small claims court, civil action, criminal complaint).
Those complaints containing allegations that would warrant disciplinary action, if substantiated (e.g., negligence, incompetence), will be investigated by the Board staff and may be referred to a Department of Consumer Affairs Investigator. If violations are substantiated, the Board may proceed with administrative action as prescribed by law.
Other complaints which, even if substantiated, may not warrant formal disciplinary action may be dealt with through direct mediation between the parties involved or through referral to other agencies or organizations as appropriate.
- Complaints that are clearly non-jurisdictional (i.e., fee disputes) may be referred to other agencies or organizations which may be able to assist you.
- The Board cannot represent private citizens in court or collect money on their behalf. The filing of a complaint does not prohibit you from filing a civil action at the same time.
- If we are unable to mediate a satisfactory solution or establish sufficient evidence to substantiate a violation of the law, your complaint will be closed, and you may be referred for further assistance to other agencies such as the Better Business Bureau, Small Claims Court, or Municipal or Superior Court.
- Should Unlicensed Practice be Reported to the Board?
If you have evidence which indicates that an unlicensed person is participating in activities for which a license is required, you should report such activity to the Board. However, you should be aware that as a licensing agency, the Board has limited jurisdiction to take action against unlicensed individuals. The Board will investigate allegations of unlicensed practice and, if sufficient evidence is established, may forward this information to the local District Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution, or the Board may issue an Administrative Citation.
In cases where an applicant for licensure may be engaged in unlicensed practice, the Board will investigate and will pursue appropriate administrative action if substantiated.