Antonis Construction Building & Painting, Inc., encourages homeowners to always check a contractor’s license first! Below is another reminder from CSLB of the importance of checking and only hiring a licensed contractor.
“CSLB Reminds Unlicensed Painters to Brush Up on the Law During Undercover Sting Operation in Merced.
Seventeen cited for illegal activities including no license and no workers compensation insurance
SACRAMENTO – Rainy weather did not stop unlicensed workers from trying to paint the town in Merced. Partnering with the Merced County District Attorney’s Office on March 21-22, 2018, investigators from the Contractors State License Board’s (CSLB) Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) cited 17 individuals for unlicensed activities. That’s the most productive of sixteen stings conducted in Merced over the last five years.
SWIFT investigators invited suspected unlicensed contractors to a single-family home near Fahrens Creek to place bids on home improvement projects. These suspects were found by searching through online advertisements and from business cards investigators collected.
California law requires licensed contractors to place their license number in all advertisements and to state that they are unlicensed if they do not have a license. Advertisements include, but are not limited to: online posts, business cards, newspaper ads, social media posts, television ads, and ads placed on vehicles. All 17 of the suspects who showed up to the sting received a citation for the misdemeanor charge of illegal advertising (Business and Professions Code § 7027.1)
Bids ranged from $750 to $3,000 for interior painting labor. The highest bid given was $6,000 for labor for ceramic tile installation. Seventeen people placed bids above the $500 legal threshold (Labor & materials) When a state contractor license is required and were given a citation for alleged unlicensed contracting (BPC § 7028). First-conviction penalties for contracting without a license include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines. A second conviction can carry a mandatory sentence of up to 90 days in jail.
Seven may also face charges for not having workers’ compensation (WC) insurance for their employees (Labor Code section 3700.5). All CSLB licensed contractors are required to have a WC insurance policy on file, and it is noted on the license record. Licensed contractors who don’t have employees must file a WC exemption with CSLB, which is also disclosed by CSLB. There’s an exception for roofing contractors, who must carry WC insurance for themselves whether they work solo or have employees (who also must be covered).
CSLB Registrar David Fogt said it’s common that unlicensed contractors don’t cover their workers with insurance in case they get hurt. Cutting corners like this allows them to offer lower prices, but it presents a big risk for homeowners. If a contractor doesn’t have workers’ comp to cover employees, the homeowner can be liable for medical costs related to an accident on their property.
“It can be tempting for homeowners to get lured in by what may seem like a good deal at first, but they should do their due diligence to make sure they’re hiring qualified workers,” said Fogt. “Additional costs can incur later that the homeowner may not be prepared for.”