SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. - An unlicensed contractor has been charged with grand theft after officials say victims paid him to do almost $3,000 worth of repairs that he never even began.
On Jan. 8, the Shasta County District Attorney announced they had filed Grand Theft and Contracting Without a License charges against Gregory Scott Gallagher.
Officials say Gallagher, through his company Vintage Barrel Works, was paid a $1,400 deposit for a $2,800 home improvement project.
Days later, Gallagher abandoned the project before beginning any repairs and did not return the victims' payment.
Here are tips shared by the DA to avoid hiring the wrong contractor:
- Verify a contractor's license for any work over $500 (a license number on a business card may only be a business license number and not a licensed contractor number).
- Verify the contractor's license by checking online at www.cslb.ca.gov
- Avoid rushing into repairs. Take the time to get at least three bids
- Don't pay more than 10 percent down or $1,000 - whichever is less.
- Don't pay cash, and don't let the payments get ahead of the work.
- Check references and get a written contract for the project.
Gallagher's case has been investigated by the Contractors State License Board.