California cracks down on unlicensed contractors


The California Contractors State License Board announced Friday a series of sting operations all over the state. They arrested 120 unlicensed contractors this week, including six people in Palos Verdes Estates.

Contractors would take measurements and give bids to pour a concrete patio to undercover investigators posing as homeowners.

"If that bid is more than $500 in materials and labor, that's the point they need to have a contractor's license," said Rick Lopes, a spokesman for the state board.

He added: "We had bids for the exact same job ranging from $900 to $4,500. So some of these people are just throwing numbers out," Lopes said.

Those arrested were cited for contracting without a license or illegal advertising. Many contractors advertise on Craigslist and don't mention they're unlicensed, state license board officials said.

Below are some tips if you need repairs done on your home.

  • Ask for contractor's license number

  • Get bids and references

  • Make sure contractor has workers' compensation insurance for employees

  • Don't pay more than $1,000 or 10 percent down

  • Don't pay cash

  • Have a written contract for a project

  • Don't let payments get ahead of work

State license board officials say just because someone offers you a lower price, doesn't mean you won't end up paying more in the long run.

"These people are cutting corners. In many cases, they have criminal backgrounds," Lopes said. "If consumers really knew who they were inviting into their house, they would think twice about it."

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