Unlicensed contractors busted in sting

November 10, 2010 2:41:25 PM PST
A sting operation by the Department of Consumer Affairs nabbed 14 unlicensed contractors.

Investigators used an undercover camera and pretended that they had a home in need of repair.

But in reality, the disguised voices are actually those of New York City inspectors for Consumer Affairs.

They were trying to see if an unlicensed contractor would offer to do the work they need.

In reality, the man on the tape's company's license was yanked nearly two years ago.

Consumer Affairs nabbed 14 unlicensed contractors in their most recent, multi-borough sting operation.

In one case, a contractor even bolted right after they caught him.

"This contractor was worried that he might be, being set up, once that he realized that he had been set up, he literally took off, so that was pretty dramatic," said Commissioner Jonathan Mintz, of the Department of Consumer Affairs.

In other instances, the contractors were brazen enough to keep advertising, even after they were in trouble.

They were listed with the same phone number and a different name of the company.

Consumer Affairs is urging homeowners to only hire contractors who are licensed.

The most important reason why is because you'll win out in the end.

"We can pay out up to $15,000, per customer, when they end up holding the bag for a licensed contractor they use when things go wrong," Mintz said.

For more information on getting a model contract or finding out if your contractor is licensed visit: http://www.nyc.gov/consumers or call 311.

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