If you suspect that a business is operating illegally, it’s important to gather as much information as possible prior to filing a complaint.

Try to get the operator’s name, address, phone number, vehicle make, and vehicle license number. Get the address of his or her jobs in progress. Get the project owner’s name, address, and phone number. Collect the operator’s advertisements, fliers, and business cards. If the person is using a contractor’s license number, make a note of the number. In addition, pictures can be excellent evidence. Check with the CSLB to find out if the person or firm is licensed — and licensed in the proper category. To check a license, go to License Status Check on the CSLB’s website. You’ll find a wealth of information there on all of California’s licensed contractors.

After you’ve collected as much information as you can, and you’ve determined that the person or firm is operating without a license, fill out an Unlicensed Activity Lead Form and send it to the nearest CSLB SWIFT unit. The addresses and fax numbers of the two California units are on the form. Also fill out a Lead Report and send it to Underground Economy Operations (the Joint Enforcement Strike Force) at the address on the form. Although SWIFT and the Joint Enforcement Strike Force cooperate very closely with one another on unlicensed operations, we recommend that you inform both organizations to improve the chances of quick action.

Enforcement Resources

Insurance Fraud:

• Department of Insurance — www.insurance.ca.gov
(Click on “Fraud” link)
• Orange County District Attorney – (714) 648-3667
• Call your local District Attorney’s office

Unlicensed Activity:

• Contractors State License Board — www.cslb.ca.gov
(Click on “Check a License or HIS Registration”)
If license is not valid, click on “Consumers” at the top of the page, then click on “Report Unlicensed Activity”)
• Also, contact your local building department

Working without a permit:

• Contact your local building department

OSHA/Safety Violations:

• California Department of Industrial Relations —
• Division of Occupational Safety and Health — www.dir.ca.gov/dosh
(Click on “Enforcement — specialized units” then follow the links to locate the OSHA district office nearest to you.)