Christine Roher

Customer Says Popular Website Features Unlicensed Contractors

Many homeowners use a popular website to find contractors for home improvement projects. The site boasts it'll help you find "trusted pros," but one homeowner warns that may not be what you get. 

Five years after Mark Fry started some home upgrades, the work still isn't done.

"It feels like somebody stole from you, somebody robbed you," Fry said. 

Fry hired a contractor he found on homeadvisor.com - a site that promised to help "find trusted local pros for any home project." But Fry said that's not what he got. He said he paid his contractor $25,000 for the project, but the contractor bailed before doing a bulk of the work.

"My money's gone. I'm never going to see it," said Fry.

Fry filed a complaint against the contractor with the Contractors State License Board. It investigated and the state revoked the contractor's license. So Fry was shocked when, two months later, the contractor was still active on Home Advisor's site.

"My money's gone," said Fry. "He's taken my money. It's the other people -- he's going to hurt other consumers."

The I-Team contacted Home Advisor and it kicked the contractor from its site. In a statement the company said: "We take many steps to ensure the pros have appropriate state-level licensing for all profiled tasks and when a red flag is raised regarding licensure, we immediately take steps."

The I-Team checked out other contractors on Home Advisor's site. Most were licensed, but a few weren't.

It's not surprising at all to hear that unlicensed contractors are able to get through the system and advertise here," said Rick Lopes with the Contractors State License Board.

Lopes said the board has urged Home Advisor to include a direct link to the state's license check site, making it easy for consumers to verify a contractor's license. But he says Home Advisor hasn't responded.

"We think these online marketplaces do have a responsibility," Lopes said. "My feelings might be different if it wasn't so easy to check and see if they have a license or if the license is in good standing."

Until things change, Fy warns other consumer that you can't always trust the site that advertised "trusted pros."

"They're not really there for the consumer," Fry said. "They're there for the contractor. They should make people understand that."

Verifying a contractor's license is crucial. But the Contractors State License Board urges you do even more homework - check online reviews, talk with past customers, and even check for lawsuits against the contractor.

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