On July 5th, 2023

CSLB, CDI and DCA Target Unlicensed Contractors in Madera and San Bernardino Counties

“These undercover sting operations are conducted in an effort to protect consumers who may unknowingly hire an unlicensed contractor to perform major home improvement projects, remodels or renovations.  In addition, the operations educate the public and help to level the playing field for license contractors.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona

In late June 2023, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), along with the California Department of Insurance (CDI), and the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Investigations (DOI), conducted undercover sting operations targeting unlicensed contractors in Madera and San Bernardino counties.  The operations resulted in 20 people being served with Notices to Appear in criminal court for allegedly engaging in contracting activities without the required license. Those cited are now facing possible fines and potential jail time.

During the sting operations, CSLB identified and cited the 20 suspected unlicensed contractors 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.

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.

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