State Agency Arrests Unlicensed Contractor
Issues Warning to Hire Only Licensed Contractors
RANCHO MURIETA — Contractors State License Board (CSLB) investigators recently arrested an unlicensed painting contractor on an outstanding warrant and charged him with suspicion of committing grand theft, contracting without a license, and the illegal use of a contractor's license number. The action was taken as a result of a complaint filed against unlicensed contractor Phillip Campion Smith.
A Rancho Murieta homeowner hired Smith in the fall of 2000 to paint his home. Smith allegedly used an expired contractor's license number, took $700 as a down payment on the $2,500 job, and, according to the homeowner, performed one hour of work. After attempting for months to get a refund, the homeowner filed a complaint with the CSLB.
Responding to the complaint, CSLB located Smith at another painting job, arrested him on an outstanding DUI warrant, and charged him with suspicion of the contracting violations.
The CSLB reminds homeowners to hire only licensed contractors and that by law, the down payment on a home improvement contract can be no more than 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less.
Additionally, the CSLB urges homeowners to follow these tips when hiring a contractor:
- Hire only licensed contractors and ask to see the license
- Check the contractor's license on CSLB's Web site at www.cslb.ca.gov, or by calling (800) 321-CSLB
- Get at least three bids and check references
- Get a written contract, and don't sign anything until you completely understand the terms
- Don't pay more than 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment
- Don't pay cash, and don't let the payments get ahead of the work
- Contact the CSLB if you have a complaint against a contractor.
The Contractors State License Board operates under the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The CSLB licenses and regulates California's 278,000 contractors, and investigates 25,000 complaints against contractors annually.
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