Why It's A Waste Of Time Complaining To The CSLB - Contractor Licensing - Contractor Talk

Why It's A Waste Of Time Complaining To The CSLB

 
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Old 09-07-2010, 02:42 PM   #1
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Why It's A Waste Of Time Complaining To The CSLB


Alright boys and girls, gather round, I'm gonna tell you a story of gross incompetence and the recent complaint I made to the CSLB.

2 weeks ago someone put a flyer on my doorstep. It was from a company that installs windows, in fact they had a very slick sounding business name, very "windowish". The flyer extolled their virtues, how honest they were, how much integrity they have. The flyer had the name of the contractor himself, he had a great reputation and personally supervised all the work. He was proud to be a licensed contractor and there was his license number, in bold type on the flyer.

Well, I looked up his license and discovered some interesting things. The owner of this window business (who personally supervises all the work) did not have a license and in fact the license he printed on his flyer belonged to an electrical contractor far away and that license was suspended.

So we have a case of fraud and false advertising!

So I sent off a complaint to the CSLB with all the details and included the flyer itself! Yeah!

I just received my response from the CSLB. They forwarded my complaint to the licensee (the EC who obviously has no idea his number was used on a flyer 300 miles away) and told me to work out a resolution with him.

They said that if the EC (a totally innocent party) did not contact me in 7 days, that I was to resubmit my complaint to the CSLB and they would see about disciplining him.

How stupid are these morons?!?!!?!?!?!!
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:23 PM   #2
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Re: Why It's A Waste Of Time Complaining To The CSLB


My limited experience with the CSLB is that they are not interested in complaints like you submitted because there is no victim. Not saying your complaint is not valid, but the reality is the CSLB, nor the local DA, have the resources to go after guys like this. I'm not trying to sound like a supporter of CSLB but they do a great deal of enforcement action with a very small group of individuals.

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Old 09-07-2010, 05:07 PM   #3
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Re: Why It's A Waste Of Time Complaining To The CSLB


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Originally Posted by RH-Electric View Post
Alright boys and girls, gather round, I'm gonna tell you a story of gross incompetence and the recent complaint I made to the CSLB.
And you wonder why I have an extremely low opinion of governing bodies. I hear what Griz is saying, particularly in these times of tight budgets and what not, but the fact remains that they are not in the business of safety or prevention, they are in the business of collecting registration fees and fines.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:15 PM   #4
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Re: Why It's A Waste Of Time Complaining To The CSLB


RH, That has the makings of a pretty funny SNL skit.

Seriously though, we have a great contributor here (License Guru) who may be able to shed some light on why it was handled this way. Sounds wacko to me too, but I'm not in California so I don't know how it all works there.

If you PM him

http://www.contractortalk.com/member...se-guru-21375/

and ask him to tune in to your thread, I'm confident he will have some input.
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Old 09-07-2010, 06:08 PM   #5
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Re: Why It's A Waste Of Time Complaining To The CSLB


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My limited experience with the CSLB is that they are not interested in complaints like you submitted because there is no victim. Not saying your complaint is not valid, but the reality is the CSLB, nor the local DA, have the resources to go after guys like this. I'm not trying to sound like a supporter of CSLB but they do a great deal of enforcement action with a very small group of individuals.
100% correct. But in addition to their unwillingness to go after criminals, they were too stupid to even comprehend the nature of my complaint.

Over the last 30 years I've probably reported 10 different violations, including an ex-employee using *my* license number and they have never actually acted on any of the complaints.

The CSLB is essentially in the entertainment business. They have an in house production company that puts on the occasional show. This show biz arm of the CSLB is called SWIFT. Rather then go after criminals, the lazy slackers at SWIFT hide out in houses and attract unlicensed contractors to come to them. Every 8 weeks they put on one of these foolish little shows. They cite on average 12 guys and then release video to local TV stations and release press releases congratulating themselves for a job well done.

There's 1.2 million unlicensed contractors in California, they are deluged with legitimate complaints of unlawful activity and what are they doing? They're engaged in this silly ass Kabuki theater where they set up "stings" and trick dolts into bidding on jobs they shouldn't.

The CSLB is a disgrace. They collect license fees and claim they are serving the public by policing the industry when their actual enforcement efforts are so minuscule they're laughable.

The CSLB loves to tell the public what a great job they're doing and how indispensable they are, but the truth is, they can't recognize actual construction fraud when it's pointed out to them in black and white.

You don't fight crime with bimonthly "stings". If that worked the local police would sell their cars and just perform "stings". Would it kill these A-Holes to leave the comfort of their offices and actually investigate a complaint?

Why am I paying my hard earned money every 2 years to renew my license when the CSLB simply ignores any complaints sent them?

They are *so* bad at enforcement they should just get out of the enforcement business. Please don't waste any more money on these massively ineffective "stings". They bust a very small number of dummies and to make matters worse, the CSLB doesn't even keep the fines! The fines go to the courts of the local jurisdiction.

The CSLB is the quintessential bloated, ineffective bureaucracy. They're so bad in fact, they spend beyond their budget, they spend more than they take in in license fees, they must steal money from the general fund to operate. They run at a loss.

I'm going to wrap up my rant but before I go, I'd like an independent audit of the CSLB. I'd like to know where all the money went. The taxpayers of California have a right to know, since they're funding this charade.

Where did all the money go? 2 years ago they announced their plan to buy a jet helicopter and fly over construction sites looking for illegal aliens. How'd that work out? Did anybody get hurt repelling out of the hovering ship? These are the numbskull ideas the CSLB comes up with.

Enough already. Mr. Schwarzenegger, please disband the CSLB.

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Old 09-07-2010, 06:50 PM   #6
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Re: Why It's A Waste Of Time Complaining To The CSLB


The only one they'll screw is you........ Our watchdog agencies in general protect the scofflaw more than they do the honest business person.
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:16 PM   #7
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Re: Why It's A Waste Of Time Complaining To The CSLB


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The only one they'll screw is you........ Our watchdog agencies in general protect the scofflaw more than they do the honest business person.
Yep. I did a basement in 03 and the customer hired someone else to do her deck while the basement was still being finished. I left for a week for a vacation and when I came back, the deck was there. The inspector wanted to see where the bath fan vented and then saw the deck. He said-that wasent there before and looked at me like I built it. I said I had nothing to do with it. he called his office and there was no permit for it, even though I was standing there with a b-chit permit the homeowner had that was faxed to her. He didnt care, I got blamed, the homeowner was threatened w/ a 180.00/day fine as was I until it was completed with a permit. Turns out the guy did this to someone else, got caught-again- and when it went to court, the guy from The Maryland Home Improvement Commission told the judge to let him off since he was paying for the customers to have it done right. They really only care about the fees they get from the people doings things legally(the ones they can control).. Thats exactly why I havent participated in the new lead paint abatement regulations. If they enforced this law and persued the real criminals, us licensed contractors would have all the work. Im done ranting.
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:26 PM   #8
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Re: Why It's A Waste Of Time Complaining To The CSLB


I have had the same experiences. These days if I see something going on in my trade that hurts all of us I have had much better luck calling the local Building Code Official. One might think it's just another fat cat bureaucrat govt agency, and it is, but these guys get off on busting clowns who should not be doing what they are doing. I don't care what they get out of it as long as they stand in the way of some unlicensed idiot doing electrical or plumbing or whatever.
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:40 PM   #9
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Re: Why It's A Waste Of Time Complaining To The CSLB


Well that is just plain stupid going after the guy who the license number belongs to, what the **** is he supposed to do about it. And he is the one who is going to be harmed if something goes wrong and a customer makes a complaint the license number they assume belongs to the window company.

The best thing is to take the story the local TV news and notify the local DA, this is outright fraud. Our local news channels do a few shows a year about this. Even going and interviewing the unscrupulous contractor and asking him about his license, etc. It's funny to see them caught in a lie. And usually once something like this is on the news, the local DA will then feel pressured to do something about it.
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:41 PM   #10
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Re: Why It's A Waste Of Time Complaining To The CSLB


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I just received my response from the CSLB. They forwarded my complaint to the licensee (the EC who obviously has no idea his number was used on a flyer 300 miles away) and told me to work out a resolution with him.
What about calling the EC up yourself, explain to him what's going on, and suggest he file a complaint of fraud for someone operating under his license number.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:07 PM   #11
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Re: Why It's A Waste Of Time Complaining To The CSLB


Interesting thread....

I'm not exactly sure how I can add to it in the negative or positive. I do have the unique perspective of having worked there, in enforcement and licensing.

There were some valid points made. i.e. the stings. In the big picture, the stings do little to stem the tide of unlicensed activity. The "kubuki theater" LOL is really meant more to have an overall effect, via the media, to let the unlicensed know that the cslb has a presence because as it was stated, there is just not enough CSLB employees to get the 1.whatever million (not sure where that number comes from, maybe the CSLB, I dont know) unlicensed guys out there.

Speaking directly to the op and his experience with the flyer. I agree! Sending it back to you and telling you to call the license holder is far from satisfactory. Nor should it be your job. My experience in the Sacramento Enforcement Unit was that an investigator would be assigned to look into the matter. A citation would be issued and the person responsible for the flyer would have to get licensed and jump thru a few more hoops than average to get that license. Why they would bounce it back to you is something I cant answer. Short of staff? Who knows.

What I do know is that the CSLB has ALWAYS bowed to political pressure. The idea of going to the media yourself (RH-Electric) is not a bad idea. Here in Sac we have Call 3. Maybe your local news channel has the same "watchdog" segment that might take your story. Another option is to contact your local representative or congressperson. One letter from him/her to the CSLB and you'll find your complaint front and center on the Chief of Enforcements desk.

Having been a state employee for almost 13 years, I can tell you first hand that state government has no clue what they're doing. I can also tell you first hand that the CSLB cares less for the people they license than they do about the consumer. That's why I left there to start my business helping you guys on the licensing side. I wish I could be more of an advocate for you with the CSLB, but as I just stated.... consumers are a higher priority. I chewed out the Board and my former boss the Registrar because they will do nothing to help me help you which in turn helps them. I didnt' make any fans that day.

Now! Having said that.... the CSLB is part of the Dept of CONSUMER AFFAIRS. Not the Department of Contractors. The Board was created back in 29 for the protection of consumers.

I know what you're saying.. you are protecting consumers by turning in the guy with his flyer. Very good point, and a very true and valid point. The CSLB should have definitely taken a stronger stance on your complaint. Why they did not.... we'll never know.

If you are serious about taking action against flyer guy, then try the other options I suggested.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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