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Hiring a contractor for spring/summer home projects? State agency urges you check their license, report scammers

Oregon Construction Contractors Board

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Construction Contractors Board, the state agency that licenses contractors in Oregon, follows a mission to protect consumers from unlicensed contractor activity. At this time of year, unlicensed contractor scams are common, as fly-by-night individuals take advantage of consumers conducting remodels and repairs on their property. 

CCB combats unlicensed contractor activity in many ways, including through presence of Field Investigators who visit construction job sites in search of unlicensed contractor activity. While Field Investigators make unannounced, random visits to job sites as they encounter them, they also follow up on reports of unlicensed contractor activity from consumers. These reports are an essential part of the CCB’s mission to protect consumers from scams. 

"Contractors that operate outside the adopted license standards put consumers at risk and undercut responsible licensed businesses,” said Chris Huntington, Administrator for the CCB. “When Oregonians report unlicensed activity they are standing up for their neighbors, supporting responsible licensed businesses and helping CCB be much more effective at addressing the harms of unlicensed contracting."

Dangers of Hiring an Unlicensed Contractor 

Unlicensed contractor activity puts consumers at risk. While CCB can fine unlicensed contractors for violations, consumers that hire unlicensed contractors have little recourse when construction projects go awry. 

CCB urges consumers to check contractors for an active license before hiring them. Consumers who become aware of unlicensed contractor jobsites should report them to the CCB. 

Dangers of working with unlicensed contractors include:

  • No ability to look up license history. CCB's online license search feature allows consumers to look up any license and see its history, including disciplinary history, previous suspensions, complaints and more. This helps consumers to make informed decisions when hiring a contractor. No such look up exists for unlicensed contractors.
  • No access to mediation. CCB offers mediation services to consumers in dispute with their licensed contractor. CCB mediations help keep these disputes out of court. Consumers in dispute with unlicensed contractors do not have this option, and while some do choose to go to court, others simply walk away. Many hire licensed contractors to fix the problem.
  • No insurance, bond, or workers comp policy. Licensed contractors are required to have insurance and a bond in place to protect consumers. Businesses with employees are requried to have workers comp. Most often, unlicensed contractors do not have this kind of protection and thus put consumers who hire them at risk.

“Hiring an unlicensed contractor can be enticing because they’re available sooner or seem more cost effective. The reality of using an unlicensed contractor is they may be too inexperienced to complete the work properly, which results in a failed project and potential damage to the home,” said Vena Swanson, CCB’s Enforcement Manager. “Since most unlicensed contractors are also uninsured and without a bond, the homeowner then must pay another contractor to fix the work and the damage. This can be three or four times the original amount.”

How to Report Unlicensed Contractor Activity? 

Reporting unlicensed contractor activity is easy with the CCB’s website. Consumers that are aware of unlicensed contractors working on active jobsites can report the activity to the CCB at this link: 

Consumers can also find this link themselves through the CCB’s website, 

To report activity, look for the button that says “Report Contractor Activity.”

Reports can be made anonymously, or consumers can request a follow up phone call to find out what happened to their report. 

“If you see or suspect unlicensed work happening, report the address to the CCB, and we can dispatch a field investigator to the site in your area while the work is happening,” said Swanson. “You can call us anonymously at 503-934-2446 to report an active jobsite, or email us at">”

The CCB provides many tools to consumers to help them through their home improvement projects. Visit the CCB’s website at to find free downloadable guides, to order informational publications sent to your home, and to look up any contractor’s license. 

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