The San Francisco Police Department’s Fraud Section, working in conjunction with the California Contractors State License Board Fraud Team (SWIFT) and the San Francisco Office of the District Attorney, conducted a sting January 28 to identify unlicensed contractors, resulting in 19 citations being issued.
Police and other enforcement personnel called newspaper and telephone book advertisers specializing in home remodeling, painting, and hardwood floor refinishing, as well as other home repairs, and asked the advertiser to come to a single location, a house in Visitacion Valley, to present a job proposal. When they arrived, officials cited those who were unlicensed with criminal citations and/or administrative summons before the California State Legal Board (CSLB) for contracting without a license or illegal advertisement.
A contractor’s license is required whenever work is offered for payment of $500 or more, including labor and materials. Some of the individuals cited were cited for having ads declaring that they were not licensed, but still gave estimates well over $500. The penalties for contracting without a license are $500-$15,000, depending on the violator’s prior history, if any, and the potential financial injury to the consumer. The penalty for illegal advertisement is $700-$1000.
These kinds of operations are conducted regularly throughout the state in an effort to protect the consumer. For further information on hiring a licensed contractor, persons can check the CSLB website at www.cslb.ca.gov. To report unlicensed activity, contact its tip line at 916-255-2924.
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