Lafayette police and investigators from the California State Contractors License Board conducted a sting operation aimed at curbing complaints resulting from contact with unlicensed area contractors – citing 19 alleged offenders over a two day period.
Over the course of the sting, conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at a local home established for the operation, individuals who had been previously identified by neighbors were targeted. Police said contractors who advertised their services in local media were also asked to provide quotes for various work at the residence.
During the operation, 19 offenders were cited for a variety of offenses – including contracting without a license, illegal advertising, overcharging for a down payment, failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance, and using the contractor license number of another contractor.
Several of the individuals who showed up at the home to furnish quotes for work were found to be repeat offenders, had criminal histories, and in one case showed up while under the influence of an unspecified drug.
Contractors were asked to provide bids to perform a variety of improvements – landscaping, masonry, drywall, cabinetry, fencing, concrete, tree removal and plumbing. The contractors then provided an estimate for the construction project and were asked to present their contractor’s license – which they could not provide.
With the increased desire to install drought tolerant plants and yards, Lafayette police said they expect an increase in problems with unscrupulous landscapers and contractors over the next few months. Lafayette investigators are now planning a future operation with members of the licensing board.
The Board recommends homeowners do the following to keep from being victimized:
- Hire a licensed contractor.
- Check their references and past work.
- Get a written contract.
- Only give $1,000 or 10 percent down, whichever is less.
- And don’t let payments get ahead of work provided.
Right on Lafayette PD! Having some checks in the system is great for those of us that lack the expertise in construction and can be duped. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a contractor give me some razzle dazzle buzzwords and feel totally vulnerable. They should do this more often.
What an Orwellian article, carrying the water for those favoring paternalistic statism.
The headline promises a story about “unscrupulous” contractors— an assertion of immorality. Rules aren’t morality. Is it “unscrupulous” to fail to have a magic paper from the government as long as the homeowner and worker otherwise agree on terms? I don’t think it is, and I think it defames the character of the accused to claim otherwise.
Which of these actions are intrinsically harmful to society as opposed to breaking arbitrary rules? “…contracting without a license, illegal advertising, overcharging for a down payment, failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance, and using the contractor license number of another contractor”
I’m not advocating anarchy, and we need some level of regulation in some areas, but GIVE ME A BREAK. Being a “Handyman without a license” should not be a crime…..
This is welcome and I wish they would do more of it.
Palm to face recognition of wrongdoing. My favorites are the guys who come around looking for older people having trouble keeping up their homes and promising them all sorts of things from yard care to child care. One of them was caught coming out of a neighbors house with her jewelry. More targeted enforcement might send the message that this sort of thing won’t be tolerated.
You get what you pay for
I don’t see any allegations that any of the accused performed shoddy work, stole money or otherwise failed to deliver the agreed services. What am I missing?
Sounds to me like they were going after this guy: http://wp62.hostgator.com/~wac7bm0abzxa/2015/07/01/renegade-landscaper-continues-to-fleece-24-680-homeowners/
64,000 dollars and he’s still out there doing what he does. And he’s not alone.
Sting operations work and are an efficient use of available police resources. Two words of advice in fighting the current auto theft thing = Bait Cars!!
Glad to see these renegades are being stopped. There are rules and everyone should play by them. Otherwise the law-abiding contractors are put at a competitive disadvantage. Either stop the rule breakers or eliminate the rules.