State investigators went undercover in southwest Houston and busted 48 unlicensed contractors.
Texas law requires anyone doing electrical and a/c work to be licensed. That license allows them to advertise, bid and perform a job. Plus, that license number must be on all advertisements.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation is trying to shield consumers from inexperienced handymen, sometimes with a criminal record and most likely uninsured.
"If they're in there doing electrical work and their work is not up to par or not up to the city's code, there's so many things that could go wrong" said Brenda Flores-Dollar, the agency’s spokesperson.
“Do you really want someone who doesn’t know 100 percent what they’re doing to come into your house?” she said.
On the fourth day, TDLR invited a few of the contractors back to the warehouse. The repairmen thought they were coming to get a check.
Instead, they were faced with fines that can go as high as $5,000. We also got a chance to ask them what they were doing.
TDLR says Mario Herrera is an unlicensed air conditioner contractor. He apologized when we asked him why he bid on the job.
“I’m sorry,” said Herrera. “Next time I’m going for application for the license.”
Another contractor named Raul Subialdea was there to do a/c work too. He didn’t waste any time getting away from our camera.
“Yeah, I gotta make a living you know,” Subialdea said while he walked off.
There were plenty of unlicensed electricians that showed up too.
Gustavo Morales said he was planning on getting his license soon.
“I go to school next month okay but that’s fine,” he told us.
Finally, we met Najee Rashed. He said he recently moved to Texas and was surprised to find out that he was caught in a state bust.
“I mean I could have been told this a little bit different but I’ll see what I can do,” he said. “I’ll get in line and do it right.”
Investigators said the fines can reach as high as $5,000 dollars.
Before hiring a contractor, search their name or license number, click https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/.