State Agents crack down on unlicensed repairmen in the Valley

July 16, 2009 7:40:41 PM PDT
Agents from the State Division of Consumer Affairs, and the District Attorney's Office lured appliance and computer repairmen to a home in North Fresno under the pretense of needing a refrigerator, or computer repair. Of the 36 who came, 26 were found to be unlicensed, and were arrested. Agents say it's a matter of public safety.

Rick Fong, Ca Dept. of Consumer Affairs said "Without a license basically it's free game that anybody can come to your house, knock on your door and say, here I provide you this service. "

Rick Fong heads the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, part of the State Department of Consumer Affairs.

He and his agents said unlicensed repair people can do everything from improper repairs, to stealing your stuff.

Rick Diamond, Bureau of Appliance Repair said "We also see a countless number of complaints where consumer's products are taken out of their home, never to be returned."

Once they mentioned a price they would charge for a repair, those found to be operating without a license were arrested, and handcuffed. Then taken to the garage of the house, where the cuffs were removed.

They were given citations carrying a $250 dollar fine, and information on how to apply for a license.

"I would say that most technicians who showed up were surprised they were caught up in this sort of thing." said Rick Diamond, Bureau of Appliance Repair.

While they were surprised, the Bureau said many arrested today had been contacted in the past, and advised they needed to get a license.

Most of the unlicensed repairmen were found to be advertising on Craigslist.

The Bureau considers this sting, a success, "We protect you from 36 individuals that potentially can rip you off as a consumer."

The Bureau advises anyone calling for a repair person to make sure they are licensed.

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