Unique Commission Mediates Disputes Between Businesses and Unhappy Customers

Complaints about contractors can be filed with an independent commission.

What can you do if you hire a family friend to complete a home construction project, and you’re unhappy with the result? One option available to Des Plaines residents who find themselves unhappy with work they've paid for is to file a complaint with the city's Consumer Protection Commission.

Mike Lake, chairman of the Consumer Protection Commission, said Des Plaines is one of two municipalities in Illinois that have such a commission, with the other one being Chicago.


The commission serves as an alternative dispute resolution, like a mediator, for residents and businesses.

Residents can file complaints regarding products and services they purchased, $100 or more, and there is not a requirement for the provider to be located in Des Plaines.

The commission is independent, but the city’s legal division provides a liaison to complete administrative tasks for the commission.

Patt v Woodmaster Fence

Resident Adam Patt hired Woodmaster Fence, based in McHenry, to remove an old fence from his backyard and install a new cedar fence, according to the complaint. Shortly after the construction was finished, Patt said he noticed many of the boards cracked and the fence had an uneven design.

Rick Manderscheid, owner of Woodmaster Fence, said the type of wood used could have knots and often cracks. He said he has received two complaints in seven years about the subcontractor his company hired to install the fence.

In the hearing, Patt agreed to do a panel-by-panel analysis of the fence and send that to Manderscheid, who agreed to look at the analysis and possibly replace parts of the fence.

The commission left the complaint open, pending further action by the parties.

Wojdelko v D&B Enterprises of Chicago

Resident Andy Wojdelko’s father hired Derrick Mastalerz, of D&B Enterprises in Chicago, to put down new concrete at his back patio and driveway in July 2010. Months later the driveway was cracking and buckling.

Wojdelko added that Mastalerz was a family friend for more than 20 years.

Wojdelko asked Mastalerz to replace it, and Mastalerz said road salt caused the cracking, and there was no warranty for it.

Commission members said they would review the filed documents and notify both parties with the decision.

Where to File a Complaint

Residents can download the consumer complaint form by visiting the city’s website and clicking on “Consumer Complaint Form” in the upper left of the page.

Forms are also available at City Hall. For more information, send an email to the commission at consumerprotection@desplaines.org.

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