Fall 2015       |      Cindi Christenson, Registrar      |      Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor


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Complaints Against Your License Can Stay on Record Long After Offense

Most licensed contractors are able to resolve their differences with customers to avoid having to respond to a complaint filed with CSLB.

CSLB is charged with licensing and regulating the construction industry in California, but is also mandated, by law to make public protection its No. 1 priority. CSLB provides this protection when it publically discloses disciplinary action against a license, which allows consumers, businesses, material suppliers, awarding authorities, and/or other contractors to make informed decisions before contracting with a licensed contractor.

CSLB's complaint-handling determination is based on Contractors' State License Law and the best interests of the public. Most complaints do not meet the requirements for public disclosure and do not result in formal disciplinary action. However, CSLB does disclose allegations from complaints that result in citations and formal accusations on its website, as well as the status of the license and workers' compensation insurance.

Also, CSLB may provide early disclosure of the date, nature, and status of complaints referred for investigation after a determination by CSLB enforcement staff and review by a supervisor that a probable violation has occurred that involves allegations that, if proven, pose a risk of harm to the public and would be appropriate for suspension or revocation of the license and/or criminal prosecution (Business and Professions Code (BPC) section 7124.6).

If you are a licensed contractor and a complaint is filed against your license, CSLB encourages you to cooperate in the investigation. Failure to comply with a written request of the Registrar is grounds for disciplinary action (BPC section 7111.1). When a complaint is filed against a licensee, if appropriate, CSLB will attempt to mediate and help achieve a resolution without disciplinary action. However, complaints involving serious violations of Contractors' State License Law, including, but not limited to, poor workmanship, abandonment, misuse of funds, failure to obtain a building permit, or failure to maintain workers' compensation for employees, can result in formal disciplinary action, even if the licensee does not have a history of complaints.

Citations are disclosed on CSLB's website from the date of issuance and for five (5) years from the date of compliance. Accusations that result in suspension, stayed suspension or stayed revocation of a contractor license are disclosed from the date the accusation is filed and for seven (7) years after the accusation has been settled, if no additional disciplinary actions have been filed against the licensee during the seven-year period. Revocations that are not stayed are disclosed indefinitely. Non-legal complaint files (hard copy) are purged after two years.

The board maintains a complaint history database that can be used to determine if a licensee is engaging in repeated acts that pose a threat to the public and are a cause for discipline. Licensees are expected to conduct their business in a professional manner as well as when working with CSLB staff.

While CSLB may assist in resolving complaints without formal disciplinary action, if the licensee continues to receive additional complaints of similar nature, CSLB may refer the contractor for formal disciplinary action for repeated acts (BPC section 7090.5), even though each individual act was resolved.

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