CSLB Reports: More Than One Dozen Phony Contractors Caught in San Rafael Sting

Undercover operation highlights importance of checking the license first
SACRAMENTO – Thirteen people will be in Marin County Court next month for arraignment on charges related to contracting without a license. These unlicensed operators were caught this week in a two-day undercover sting conducted by the Contractors State License Board’s (CSLB) Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT), along with investigators from the Marin County District Attorney’s Office.
On November 9-10, 2010, SWIFT investigators posed as homeowners seeking bids for fencing, landscaping, concrete, painting, sheet metal, and drywall work at a home in San Rafael. Suspects who bid more than $500 for labor and materials received a Notice to Appear (NTA) 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.
Fraudulent use of an incorrect license number (Business & Professions Code Section 7027.3) is punishable by fines of up to $10,000 and/or time in state prison or up to one year in county jail. Misdemeanor contracting without a license (B&P §7028) is punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and/or up to six months in county jail.
“This sting operation underscores the importance of consumers asking to see a contractor’s pocket license card and photo identification to make sure the license is issued to that individual,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “Consumers can check the license number or contractor or business name on the CSLB website or toll-free phone line to verify the status of the license and to assure the licensee has workers’ compensation insurance.
State law requires that licensees have workers’ compensation coverage to protect property owners from liability, unless they certify they have no employees and receive an exemption. The law requires roofing contractors to carry a workers’ compensation policy for themselves even if they do not have employees.
Suspects who received NTAs will be arraigned at Marin County Superior Court at 3501 Civic Center Drive on December 3, 2010.

CSLB urges consumers to remember the following tips when 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 correct individual.
• 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.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , on by .

About makemeacontractor

Contractors State License Service (CSLS) is the largest school in California devoted to the Construction professional. For over 23 years, CSLS has helped its students pass the exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California, licensing more students than any other school. From our main offices in Southern California, CSLS operates over 25 locations with full-service support and classrooms. We have grown to this extent by providing quality, professional services. In comparison, this provides 7 times the number of convenient locations than the second largest contractor school. Contractors State License Services is one of the only contractor schools in the state that is run by educators, not lawyers or people mostly interested in the bonding and insurance business. Contractors State License Services formerly operated under the oversight of the State of California's Bureau for Private Post Secondary and Vocational Education. As of January 1 2010, the new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) came into existence replacing the BPPVE. CSLS now operates under the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (CPPEA), Article 4 Section 94874(f). Our Mission is simple; We can help you pass your California Contractors License Exam. Celebrating our 25th year, CSLS has helped over 120,000 students pass the California contractor licensing exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California. Additionally, we offer complete home study and online contractor’s license programs to help you pass your California contractors license exam. CSLS offers licensing classes for all types of contractor licenses, including General Engineering Contractor, General Building Contractor, Specialty Contractor, Insulation and Acoustical Contractor, Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor, Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor, Concrete Contractor, Drywall Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Elevator Contractor, Landscaping Contractor, Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor, and many others. For a complete list of contractor licenses, visit www.MakeMeAContractor.com and tuned for more informative posts.