November 8, 2023 – SACRAMENTO, CA – The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) recently joined forces with the Clovis Police Department and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office to crack down on unlicensed contractors in Fresno County.
In collaboration with law enforcement, CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) carried out the sting operation in late October, which involved tracking down alleged unlicensed contractors and inviting them to propose bids for various home construction projects at a prearranged location.
The operation uncovered more than just the issue of unlicensed contracting. The Clovis Police Department arrested one suspected unlicensed contractor who had six warrants from Fresno and Madera counties for a number of violations, including three CSLB-related cases. His vehicle was also impounded for 30 days.
In addition, eight people were issued Notices to Appear in criminal court on charges related to unlicensed contracting. One unlicensed contractor bid $5,300 for a concrete job.
The unlicensed contractors apprehended during the operation could potentially face additional charges for advertising construction services without the required license. According to California law, it’s illegal for any individual to advertise for construction or home improvement work without possessing a valid license in the advertised construction trade. If unlicensed individuals advertise for construction contracting services, they must clearly express they are unlicensed and cannot bid or contract for work valued at over $500, including labor and materials.
Registrar David Fogt affirmed CSLB’s dedication to consumer protection.
“Our primary purpose is to safeguard consumers from the risks posed by unlicensed contractors. As part of this effort, we emphasize the importance of public education on hiring legitimate licensed contractors and verifying their credentials before signing any construction contract,” he said.
Fogt further emphasized the state law that requires strict rules concerning payments for home improvement projects. State law restricts down payments to either 10% of the total project cost or $1,000, whichever amount is less. Subsequent progress payments cannot exceed the value of the work completed. Non-compliance with these guidelines is an administrative violation and a criminal misdemeanor, carrying potential penalties including a year in county jail, a $5,000 fine, or both.
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.
About CSLB: CSLB operates under the umbrella of the Department of Consumer Affairs and licenses and regulates about 285,000 contractors in California.