Over many years of meeting with folks regarding their home-improvement needs, I hear way too many horror stories about past experiences within the construction industry. The cartoon depicts quite well how differently the "same thing" can be understood...er, misunderstood by all parties involved.
It does not have to be that way! Whether purchasing a service or commodity, the representative should be directing many questions to you about what your needs, goals, and visions are. If they don't care in the first meeting, chances are, they won't care later.
Just as important are clear specification/contract documents. You should always know exactly what it is you are purchasing , in writing, before you order/sign anything. If the salesperson balks or is defensive in anyway, politely reuse the contract and find someone willing to provide these basic things.
If hiring service work, always check that they are properly licensed and insured. In Maryland, a quick check at the MHIC website will tell you if a contractor's license is active and whether or not they have any complaints against them.
Lastly, ask for referrals and then (hard as it may be) pick up the phone and actually call them. My favorite question to ask: "What went wrong, and how did they handle it"
Do your due diligence and you might be pleasantly surprised how smoothly your homes remodeling can be.