Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Contractors State License Board Warns Consumers to Check License Before Hiring Contractors

Suspect arrested for installing peep cameras in Rancho Cucamonga was not licensed

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is warning consumers to be vigilant in checking out the credentials of contractors after an unlicensed electrician was arrested for installing hidden cameras without homeowners' knowledge in Rancho Cucamonga.

David Mitchell Clark, 34, was arrested this week by Rancho Cucamonga Police after he allegedly installed hidden cameras in the bathrooms of unsuspecting customers who hired him for electrical work. There are no records of David Mitchell Clark or his company DMC Electrical with CSLB licensing. The Police Department has warned consumers, in a press release, to check their electrical outlets for possible hidden cameras, if they hired David Clark to perform work.

"We can't stress this enough, for property owners to be careful about who they hire to perform contracting work," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "It only takes a few minutes to check out a contractor's license status. Ask for the contractor's plastic pocket license and photo identification, then go online or call the CSLB’s automated phone system to verify the status of the license."

Anyone with complaints about David Clark or any other unlicensed operator can file a complaint with the CSLB Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) in Southern California at: Office numbers (562) 345-7600 / FAX (562) 466-6065.

The CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips when dealing with any contractor:

  • Don't rush into decisions and don't hire the first contractor who comes along.
  • Be especially hesitant when approached by someone offering home improvement services door-to-door, especially when they will use material they claim is left over from another job.
  • Verify the contractor's license by checking online at or via CSLB's automated phone service at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).
  • Get three references for each contractor and three bids.
  • Make sure the contract for work to be done is in writing and that you understand all terms before you sign it.
  • Never pay more than 10% or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment.
  • Don't pay in cash, and don't let the payments get ahead of the work.
  • Contact the CSLB if you have a complaint against a contractor.

The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The CSLB licenses and regulates California's 316,000 contractors, and investigates more than 20,000 complaints against contractors annually. In fiscal year 2007-08, the CSLB obtained nearly $35.2 million in ordered restitution for consumers.

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