When hiring a contractor, you better go licensed. Hiring an unlicensed contractor may be illegal, and an unlicensed contractor may be able to sue you and win if they are injured. Some may even purposefully hurt themselves for their gains. Plus, you want somebody who can prove they can work on your house.
However, even when you hire someone you think is licensed, it turns out that they were using someone else’s license. Sometimes, it’s fraud. Other times, the real contractor may have lent their license to someone else for a little extra money or out of laziness. There’s a difference between being a licensed, genuine subcontractor who works for a bigger contractor, and someone who is using another person’s license.
When this bogus contractor does some poor work on your home, here’s what you can do about it.
Can The Contractor Collect?
Before you pay, look at the contract licensing laws in your state. There may be a chance that your contractor cannot collect on the work if they are using someone else’s license.
Never pay a contractor who is using someone else’s license before you do your research. Chances are, you may not have to pay for their subpar work.
File a Complaint
Talk to the state contractor’s regulatory agency. File a complaint not only against the person who worked for you, but the person the license belonged to. If the contractor stole the license, it can help alert the real contractor, and if they’re honest, they will try to make things right. If the contractor lent their license, they need to be held liable too. You wouldn’t give your driver’s license to someone who couldn’t drive, then not expect consequences.
Take Them to Court
If all else has failed, consider taking the bogus contractor to court. No one likes a court battle. It’s messy, expensive, and even if you have a good case, it’s not something you want to go through. However, there are many cases where it’s your only move. Sometimes, a contractor may have a lien, where if you don’t pay, there may be consequences. You may need to gather evidence to prove the law is on your side, which can be a challenge for many who didn’t document everything.
This can help not only get your money back, but make an example out of someone who lent their license to someone who is a fraud.
Prevention is the Best Step
Obviously, you cannot know for 100 percent certainty if the contractor you hire is legit, but doing a little bit of research can help. A contractor should have positive reviews, a portfolio, and you can research more about the contractor on various outlets. Sites like Con-Tractors allow you to look at contractors whose work has been… less than impressive.
While many contractors are honest and only hire people who are licensed, some will cut corners, and the result is never good. Don’t be that contractor.