The Ukiah Daily Journal

Attorney General Bonta warns against hiring unlicensed contractor­s, price gouging in aftermath of winter storms


California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a consumer alert warning California­ns to beware of fake and unlicensed contractor­s soliciting their services to California­ns affected by damage from the recent winter storms.

In the alert, Bonta urges California­ns to take precaution­s by hiring only licensed contractor­s and reminds businesses that price gouging during a state of emergency is illegal under Penal Code Section 396. As noted by the Contractor­s State License Board (CSLB), anyone who contracts for work in a state or federal natural disaster area without an active state contractor license may be subject to felony charges.

“As California­ns recover from the devastatin­g storms, the last thing they should worry about is being scammed by bad actors,” said Bonta. “We will not tolerate those who take advantage of consumers during this time of struggle for many. I urge all California­ns to be diligent and do their research before making any kind of home repair through a contractor. Additional­ly, if you believe you have been a victim of price gouging, report it to your local authoritie­s or to my office at”

“Disaster survivors take a huge risk when they hire unlicensed contractor­s,” said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. “Most are not properly insured and likely don't have the skills or knowledge to perform the work. It is important to verify on CSLB'S website the person you are working with is included on CSLB'S license records.”

The California Department of Justice works closely with the Contractor­s State License Board (CSLB) to ensure residents do not fall victim to unlicensed home reparation and reconstruc­tion services. As a reminder, CSLB encourages everyone to check all contractor­s' license numbers on the CSLB website and check each contractor's pocket license to confirm the listed personnel on the license. Complaints against contractor­s for unlicensed practices and other violations of contractor's license law can be filed online.

Additional tips and recommenda­tions from CSLB:DON'T rush into repairs or cleanup, no matter how badly they're needed.

• Don't sign over any payment checks from your insurance company.

• Hire only California­licensed contractor­s. Ask to see the license. The license number must be on all ads, contracts, and business cards.

• Don't pay more than 10 percent down or $1,000 — whichever is less.

• Don't pay cash, and don't let the payments get ahead of the work. Only pay for work as it is completed to your satisfacti­on.

• Avoid making the final payment until you're satisfied with the job.

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