State Investigators are saying that unlicensed contractors are ripping people off in Utah County, taking their money and not doing the work. Imagine building a house for someone, spending forty-six hundred dollars on cabinets, and then never getting them. That is what happened to Casey Cloward, a licensed contractor, but the unlicensed cabinet-maker Cloward hired took his money and never did the work.
“He was very well informed on the cabinet side of things…I was in a hurry I was in a bind to get the contract done…I gave him the down payment,” said Cloward.
When it comes to finding a contractor most homeowners look for the best deal, but if you want to protect your money, what you really need to be looking for is if your contractor has a license.
Mark Steinagel, the director of professional licensing for Utah says he thinks there are hundreds of unlicensed contractors working in Utah County. This is a growing problem for homeowners and licensed contractors.
“Those that have done it the right way don’t want people giving their industry a bad name, so we get complaints,” said Steinagel.
To catch them, Steinagel and his team target online advertisements, meet with the contractors, and surprise them with a little justice.
“A very high percentage of them like we thought were not licensed and so they were issued citations,” said Steinagel.
According to Steinagel the best way to avoid being scammed is to get references from the contractor’s previous jobs, avoid paying too much money as a down payment, and most of all, make sure your contractor has a license.
“There are a lot of good professionals out there who do good work, who add value to the homeowner; use them,” encourages Steinagel.
The easiest way to check if your contractor has a license is to get online. Visit www.DOPL.utah.gov to verify a license 24 hours a day.