Contractors Board Warns Inland Empire Consumers About Unlicensed Contractors
MORENO VALLEY — The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) issued a warning to consumers today about the dangers of hiring unlicensed contractors. In cooperation with the Moreno Valley Building Department, CSLB's Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) has conducted four undercover sweep operations in Palm Springs, Temecula and Moreno Valley over the past two months. SWIFT investigators cited a total of 41 unlicensed contractors in these sweeps. Sixteen licensed contractors were also cited for violations of workers compensation laws and operating with suspended licenses.
"CSLB is collaborating with building departments throughout the state to combat unlicensed and illegal contracting activity," said Tony Elmo, CSLB Chair and Director of Building and Safety for the City of Temecula.
SWIFT investigators conduct sweeps by visiting job sites unannounced and asking contractors to produce proof of valid licensure. Contractors found to be improperly licensed may be cited.
By law, all contractors who perform work that totals $500 or more (labor and materials) must be licensed by the CSLB. Building officials from Moreno Valley were crucial to the sweeps by identifying construction projects runby suspected unlicensed operators. The sweeps underscore the fact that illegal contractors are operating throughout this region.
The CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips when dealing with a building contractor:
- Hire only licensed contractors and ask to see the license.
- Don't rush into decisions and don't hire the first contractor who comes along.
- Verify the contractor's license by checking on-line at www.cslb.ca.gov.
- Don't pay more than 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is less.
- Don't pay cash, and don't let the payments get ahead of the work.
- Get three bids, check references, and get a written contract.
- Contact the CSLB if you have a complaint against a contractor.
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of 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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