Four in Hot Water for Contracting Without a License
CSLB sting operation targets unlicensed pool repair in ChicoSACRAMENTO — Four unlicensed operators must appear in Butte County Court for contracting without a license and related violations of state construction contracting laws after being caught during an undercover sting operation held by the Contractors State License Board and the Butte County District Attorney’s Office on September 14, 2010.
CSLB investigators solicited bids for pool repair, concrete, and landscaping work in the swimming pool area of a Chico mobile home park. Suspects who bid more than $500 for labor and materials received a notice to appear in court. California law requires all home improvement jobs valued at more than $500 to be undertaken by a licensed contractor. Contractors also must place their state contractor license number in all advertisements. Unlicensed individuals may advertise and accept jobs valued at less than $500, but their ads must state that they are not a licensed contractor.
CSLB licensees have at least four years of journey-level experience in their license classification and must pass exams dealing with their trade and state contracting laws. State law requires that licensees purchase a license bond for consumer protection and that their employees have workers’ compensation coverage to protect property owners from liability. Because of the risk involved in their work, C-39 Roofing contractors must purchase workers’ compensation for themselves even if they do not have employees. Since 2005, anyone applying for a new contractor license or adding a classification has also been required to submit fingerprints for a criminal background check.
We encourage consumers to think twice before allowing anyone without a contractor license to work on their home or property," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "It is not worth the risk to your family’s safety or finances if something goes wrong.
CSLB has extensive online resources for homeowners and urges consumers to remember the following tips before hiring a contractor:
- Verify the contractor's license by checking online at www.cslb.ca.gov, or via CSLB’s automated phone system at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).
- Ask to see the person’s identification to make sure you are dealing with the individual who is licensed or registered as a salesperson to contract on the licensee’s behalf.
- Don't pay more than 10% down or $1,000, whichever is less. There is an exception to this for about two dozen contractors who purchase special bonds that are noted on CSLB’s website.
- Don't pay in cash, and don't let the payments get ahead of the work.
- Check references, and get at least three bids and a written contract before your project begins.
- Make sure your contractor obtains the necessary building permits for any project. If you are unsure of these requirements, contact your local building department.
Suspects who received notices to appear will be arraigned at the Butte County Consolidated Court at 1 Court Street in Oroville at 8:30 a.m. on October 29, 2010:
|Thomas Christopher Chadwick
|37||Concrete||Contracting without a license|
|Steve Eugene Heald
|55||Concrete||Contracting without a license|
|Alvaro Barajas Garcia
|45||Concrete||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
|49||Concrete||Contracting without a license, illegal advertising|
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. More information and publications about hiring contractors are available on the CSLB website or by calling 800-321-CSLB (2752). You can also sign up for CSLB e-mail alerts at www.cslb.ca.gov. CSLB licenses and regulates California's more than 300,000 contractors, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2009-10, CSLB helped recover nearly $42 million in ordered restitution for consumers.
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