Fighting unlicensed contractors

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Seven On Your Side
March 7, 2011 2:47:04 PM PST
It's the number two consumer complaint in the state of New Jersey. 1400 residents eported getting burned by shoddy, unlicensed contractors who took the money and ran or left homeowners with a mess. In two hours, working in tandem in one store parking lot, two undercover state investigators will net more than 2 dozen contractors, violating state law.

Of the 15 summonses written, half advertising home improvement work, were NOT even licensed, as required by the state.

Shoddy contracting is one of the top consumer complaints each year. So New Jersey's Division of Consumer Affairs went on the lookout for unlicensed contractors.

"This approach represents a new offensive by going to places throughout the state where home improvement contractors congregate, we are really taking the fight to them, says Tom Calcagni head of New Jersey's Division of Consumer Affairs.

The aggressive tactic utilizes a pick up disguised as a contractors truck cruising for similar commercial vehicles which do not display the "13VH" numbers which proves they are registered with the state, and therefore licensed and insured to do work on your home or business.

This contractor is all of the above, in good standing. But he failed to display his registration number, a state investigator gave him a warning.

Other contractors came up with plenty of excuses on why they couldn't produce a home improvement license. It turned out 2 contractors we saw didn't have licenses to do the home improvements they advertise.

"He has to reinstate," said the state investigator. "I let him know he's not allowed to do any home improvement work until he's registered with us."

The contractor will have to pay a $90 fee and register within 2 weeks or he could face a fine of up to $10,000.

Check on your NJ Contractor

Check on NYC Contractors

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Story by: Nina Pineda

Produced by: Steve Livingstone