CSLB and Craigslist pull the plug on "warning post"
MORENO VALLEY - Contractors State License Board investigators experienced an added twist to their otherwise, routine undercover sting to catch unlicensed contractors in Moreno Valley January 27-28, 2016. Someone tried to blow the whistle on the operation by posting a warning about the sting on Craigslist.
"That attempt to warn illegal contactors to stay away from the sting operation, demonstrates how far those who skirt state contracting laws will go," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "As the association that represents CSLB investigators, we know the value of their work, including undercover stings, to protect consumers from harm. "
The anonymous notice warning unlicensed contractors about CSLB's sting was posted in the Inland Empire edition of Craigslist on the first day of the operation. When CSLB became aware of the notice and alerted Craigslist, Craigslist immediately removed it, all the while CSLB investigators continued with their sting. Posing as homeowners at a single-family home in need of repairs, investigators cited 10 individuals suspected of contracting without a license.
"We hope that the person who posted this realizes that what they did was illegal and jeopardized an operation to stop illegal activity," said CSLB Registrar Cindi Christenson. "And it did not work."
All 10 suspects were cited for contracting without a license and illegal advertising . State law requires unlicensed contractors to state in all advertising that they are not licensed.
"As consumers become more educated about licensed and unlicensed contractors, they will come to know it is better to check the CSLB website for licensed contractors and hire someone who has been checked out by the state," said Barcelona. "You really don't want an unlicensed contractor on your home improvement project, it's about your personal and financial safety, and the safety of your family."