The Contractors State License Board (CSLB), in conjunction with the Madera County District Attorney’s Office (DA), California Department of Insurance (CDI), and the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigations (DOI), recently conducted successful undercover operations targeting unlicensed contractors in Madera and San Bernardino counties.
The operations took place in late June and resulted in 20 individuals being served with Notices to Appear in criminal court for allegedly engaging in contracting activities without the required license. These individuals are now facing legal consequences, including substantial fines and potential jail time.
During the sting operations, CSLB – with assistance from law enforcement officials – identified and cited 20 individuals for submitting bids that exceeded the legal limit of $500. The bids ranged from $700 to $18,000 for an interior painting job. As per California contractor state license laws, bidding for, or contracting for, construction work that exceeds a value of $500 requires a contractor’s license.
Engaging in contracting work without a valid license is a misdemeanor offense in California, carrying fines of up to $15,000 and potential jail time. CSLB remains committed to enforcing these laws, ensuring the protection of consumers from individuals involved in unlicensed contracting activities.
Furthermore, the unlicensed contractors apprehended in these operations may face additional charges for advertising their construction services without possessing the necessary license. California law prohibits anyone from advertising construction or home improvement work without a valid license. In cases where contracting services are advertised by unlicensed individuals, the person placing the ad must include a disclaimer that explicitly states their lack of licensure, and the unlicensed individual is limited to only advertising for projects valued at less than $500, inclusive of materials and labor.
CSLB Registrar David Fogt stated, “CSLB remains committed to safeguarding homeowners from the peril of unlicensed contractors. We continually strive to educate consumers about the importance of hiring licensed contractors and strongly urge homeowners to take a few moments to verify a contractor’s license before proceeding with any construction project in California.”
During the two operations, it was revealed that some individuals requested excessive down payments before commencing work. Under California law, contractors are strictly limited to requesting no more than 10% of a home improvement project’s cost or $1,000, whichever is less. Violating this provision is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by fines up to $5,000 or a potential one-year county jail sentence, or both.
CSLB, CDI, DOI, DA offices around the state, and other agencies will continue to collaborate in their ongoing efforts to combat unlicensed contracting activities, ensuring the safety and well-being of California’s homeowners. They remain vigilant in enforcing the law, promoting consumer protection, and upholding the integrity of the construction industry.
For further information or to report suspected unlicensed contractor activities, please visit the CSLB website at www.cslb.ca.gov or contact CSLB toll-free at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752). For ongoing information and updates from CSLB, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
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