In the California Contractors State License Board's (CSLB) Summer 2014 Message from the Board Chair, the CSLB's new Board Chair David Dias voices his concern about the increasing number of consumer complaints alleging predatory practices by C-20 Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) contractors. Reportedly, vulnerable consumers are being taken advantage of after calling an HVAC contractor for simple repairs or routine maintenance. He confirms that the CSLB is "taking steps to warn and weed out this element," efforts which have included hosting a conference in San Jose in May that brought together industry officials, regulators, and C-20 contractors to discuss HVAC installation-related issues. He further confirmed that the CSLB's Enforcement Division "will be reinforcing its HVAC scam zero-tolerance policy through targeted undercover sting operations."

In its CSLB Turns Up the Heat on HVAC Rip-Offs, the CSLB identifies the predatory practices that it intends to curtail:

  • Hard-sell tactics to obtain grossly inflated contracts
  • Misrepresenting work as critical or safety-related, needing immediate correction
  • Failing to provide the three-day right to rescind a home improvement contract
  • Failing to obtain building permits
  • Lack of workers' compensation insurance or under-reporting employees

As part of the effort to crack down on such practices, the Better Business Bureau has been sharing its consumer complaint files with the CSLB, aiding the CSLB to identify potential violators.

Its efforts will also include workshops that will involve reviewing state service and repair contract laws, including a customer's 3-day right to rescind a home improvement contract, permit requirements and related inspections from local building departments, and contractors' responsibilities to maintain workers' compensation insurance to cover on-site worker injuries.