Stephen R. Quinn, dba Steve the Painter, provided a $1,400 painting bid to an NSCB investigator. He bragged, in a Craigslist advertisement, that he had 25 years experience and was an expert at painting rounded corners in homes. But when it came to painting the garage, he said some of the pipes would probably get paint on them. Quinn apparently hadn't learned how to use painter's blue masking tape. He was issued a criminal citation for contracting without a license.
Oscar Rojas-Segura showed up at the jobsite and forgot to bring his tape measure. An NSCB investigator helped him by suggesting that he pace out an area for the installation of pavers. Rojas-Segura also didn't speak or write in English very well, so his girlfriend assisted him in writing a $1,600 bid for the job. Rojas-Segura was immediately issued a criminal citation for contracting without a license.
“These stings should serve as a warning that the NSCB is serious about cracking down on unlicensed contractors,” said Margi Grein, executive officer of the board. “Consumers should not be taken in by promises of cheap work performed by unlicensed contractors. In reality it may cost more, and the consumer is left with little or no protection. It is important for consumers to check the license status of any company they wish to hire at our website, www.nscb.state.nv.us.”
Contracting without a license in Nevada is a misdemeanor for the first offense, a gross misdemeanor for the second offense and a Class E felony for the third offense.
Homeowners who use unlicensed contractors are not eligible for the Residential Recovery Fund, and by law their contracts are null and void.
The NSCB urges consumers to follow these simple tips when dealing with a contractor:
• Hire only licensed contractors. Ask to see their NSCB license.
• Don’t rush into decisions or hire someone without checking out potential contractors.
• Be especially wary when approached by someone offering door-to-door home improvements.
• Verify the contractor’s license by checking online at www.nscb.state.nv.us or calling (775) 688-1141 in northern Nevada.
• Ensure the contractor is properly licensed for the work you want done on your home.
• Limit your down payment or deposit to 10 percent of the total contract.
• Don’t pay cash without obtaining signed receipts, and don’t let the payments get ahead of the work.