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California Goes After Unlicensed Contractors






One of the main complaints cited by licensed landscape contractors is that they are being underbid by fly-by-night companies that have no licenses and carry no insurance, and thus have less overhead. States are taking notice and enforcement action. In California, the Butte County District Attorney's Office and the Contractors State License Board conducted an undercover sting operation called "California Blitz." Officers nabbed six alleged unlicensed contractors from Chico, Oroville, Palermo and Paradise.


California Contractors State License Board investigators posed as potential clients at a private home in Chico, according to a press release from the DA's office. The investigators invited the alleged unlicensed contractors to place bids on landscaping, tree removal, fencing and painting.

The suspects reportedly advertised their services in newspapers, Craigslist and by posting material at home improvement stores, according to the press release. The contractor who bid more than $500 for labor and material were issued a notice to appear for contracting without a license.

According to the CSLB, the penalty for contracting without a license is up to six months in jail and/or a fine up to $5,000. Also, state law requires that contractor advertisements must include the company's license number. If the person does not have a license, they must disclose that in their advertisement and can only perform jobs valued at less than $500. Violators may face a fine of up to $1,000.

"Homeowners need to be aware of the risk they take when they hire someone who is not licensed to do work in their home," said District Attorney Mike Ramsey in a press release. "What seems like a good deal almost always ends up costing a lot more."

Stings are done periodically to prevent "unscrupulous, unlicensed contractors from underbidding contractors who follow all regulations," Ramsey said.

The two-day sting, which was also conducted in Oakdale, Bakersfield, Lawndale, Orange and San Bernardino, resulted in 78 arrests total, according to the CSLB.

The CSLB encourages consumers to look for contractor's state license number, ask for identification, get at least three bids, check references and to remember that it's illegal to pay more than 10 percent of the total cost of a project up front or $1,000, whichever is less, for a home improvement contract.

www.cslb.ca.gov







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November 22, 2019, 12:12 pm PDT

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