Nine suspected of illegal contracting in bait house sting

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by Meredith Yeomans

azfamily.com

Posted on September 20, 2012 at 4:31 PM

PHOENIX -- 3 On Your Side runs into them all the time; unlicensed contractors taking money from homeowners.

While some of them don't do the job they're paid to do properly, others don't do the job at all.

Many unlicensed contractors use free websites like Craigslist to lure in homeowners, which is where investigators with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors found their bait in a two-day undercover sting set up to bust illegal contractors. It is part of a multi-state sting targeting unlicensed contractors on Craigslist.

During the sting, undercover investigators told the unlicensed contractors they were looking to hire people to remodel a Valley home.

In just two days, eleven different appointments showed up at the home, equipped with our hidden cameras.

In Arizona, it is illegal for an unlicensed contractor to do a job that costs more than $1,000.

But bids submitted after the appointment show the job is well over that amount.

None-the-less, with the shake of a hand, the contractors who came to the bait house had no problem agreeing to do the work.

“Its not really hard to get people to show up and solicit their work,” Tyler Palmer with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors told 3 On Your Side.

Out of the 11 appointments that showed up, nine are suspected of operating without a license.

Palmer said it’s crucial for homeowners to hire licensed contractors because of the recourse you have if the job goes bad.

“There is a compensation fund, there is a process where you can file a complaint with us and we can work with the contractor and tell them they will receive discipline on their license or lose their license if they don't fix it,” he said.

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