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Hiring for spring home projects? Site helps 'buyer beware'

State lists phony, predatory contractors to avoid

SALEM, Ore. - A new Oregon Construction Contractors Board web page warns consumers about phony or predatory contractors who take money and produce little or no work or who violate state contracting laws.

The people who make this list owe money to homeowners or to the State of Oregon in unpaid fines. None has a license in good standing yet they continue to prey on the public.

"We hope the page deters homeowners from using these particular bad actors and reminds them to report any unlicensed contractors to the CCB," Enforcement Manager Stan Jessup said."Also, consumers should always make sure they are doing business with a licensed contractor, and check references before signing any contract or making any payments," Jessup added.

At the top of the Buyers Beware list is Jose Francisco Alvarez-Guerrero. He racked up more than $100,000 in CCB fines for working on Portland area home projects -- typically involving brick pavers - without a license. Many of his victims are senior citizens.

Victims told the CCB that he started jobs but then wouldn't show up or made excuses about why he couldn't finish the work. He currently is in the Columbia County Jail on a theft charge involving a Rainier man who paid more than $9,000 up front for a project involving a retaining wall and path. The project was never started.

In another case, a Beaverton woman lost several thousand dollars after hiring him to put in a ramp walkway for her disabled son. He never showed up for that job.

A husband and wife couple also made the list. Aaron and Claudia McCormick repeatedly installed flooring without a license. The CCB received multiple complaints about substandard work or unfinished jobs.

The CCB licenses construction contracting businesses. Most any business seeking work on a new home or home improvement project needs a license. Contractors must include their CCB license number on any advertising so you can verify their license. To do so, visit www.oregon.gov/ccb and enter a license number or name in the orange "Search" feature.

Verify that the license is "active" and that the name on the license matches the contractor in question. Call 503-378-4621 for help searching or understanding the results.

Contractors and consumers can report unlicensed contractors and other illegal activity on the CCB's website or by calling 503-934-2246.

In looking for contractors, the CCB advises consumers to get references from friends and neighbors, or others in the construction industry, such as supply stores. Licensed contractors carry bonds and insurance and can be held accountable if something goes wrong. Only licensed contractors can get required building permits.

About the CCB
The CCB is the state agency licensing more than 36,000 contractors. Anyone who is paid to repair, improve, inspect or build a home must be licensed. Learn more about how to have a successful project at www.oregon.gov/ccb.


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