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Check contractors' licenses before hiring


Last updated 7/5/2007 at Noon

I normally do not write letters of an alarmist nature, but a recent experience with a residential irrigation contractor in Fallbrook motivates me to write this.

Having hired a locally advertised contractor on behalf of my mother, a 54-year resident of Fallbrook, we found out the hard way the shoddy and unprofessional work an unlicensed contractor provides. This creates the necessity of doing the legwork to check credentials.

Had we taken the simple step of checking with the California Contractors Licensing State Board we would have learned that the company involved doesn’t even have an application pending with the CLSB, much less a license. Also, any contractor charging less than $500 for their services flies “under the radar” of the state and is unregulated. In other words, they can take your money and run and you have no avenue for grievance or redress.

We also learned that many of the companies that advertise themselves as “licensed” are actually operating on an expired, non-existent or fictitious license number. Just because they claim to be licensed or publish a license number does not mean the license is active or valid. These “contractors” prey on the elderly who are not aware of the tools available to check credentials and protect themselves.

The only way to protect yourself is to verify on the State of California Web site or place a call to the board at (800) 321-CSLB. Beware of those who prey on the elderly and the information-disadvantaged. Just because someone is local and friendly does not mean he or she is competent and licensed. Do your homework and you’ll win in the long run and the unscrupulous will be forced out of business.

Mark W. Violet


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