Unregistered contractors are a threat to both consumers and legitimate contractors. Unregistered contractors carry no bond or insurance to protect consumers. Consumers can face serious issues if anything goes wrong on a job. Additionally, unregistered contractors have an unfair advantage over legitimate contractors when competing with jobs because they skip the expense of protecting their customers.
Common problems with contractors
If you run into serious issues with your contractor, remodeler or handyman, the following L&I resources can help you to decide what to do.
Your contractor left and did not complete your job. If you are unable to resolve serious problems with a contractor, you can file suit against their bond. See Filing a suit against a contractor (and their bonding agent), or Filing a suit against an electrical contractor.
Your job was not done to the contract specifications. If you are unable to resolve serious problems with a contractor, you can file suit against their bond. See Filing a suit against a contractor (and their bonding agent), or Filing a suit against an electrical contractor.
Your contractor’s work resulted in damage to persons and/or property. If your contractor causes damage to a person or property due to negligence, the damage may be covered by your contractor’s liability policy. You need to contact your contractor’s insurer directly to make your claim. You can find the insurance policy of your registered contractor, including their coverage amount, on the Verify a Contractor, Tradesperson or Business webpage.
If employees who work for your contractor sustain injuries while working on your project, they will be covered by the contractor’s workers’ compensation and industrial insurance policy. You can verify that your contractor’s workers are covered by checking the Workers’ comp section within the Verify a Contractor, Tradesperson or Business look-up tool.
You receive a notice of intent to lien. If you receive a lien notice, take it seriously. Let your contractor know you have received the notice. Find out what arrangements they have made to pay the sender of the notice.
Some helpful suggestions
If your contract exceeds $1,000, get a disclosure statement from your contractor. If your contract exceeds $1,000, Washington laws [RCW 18.27.114(1) or (2)], require contractors to have you sign a disclosure statement. The disclosure statement gives you information about your rights, responsibilities, and how to protect yourself. The contractor must keep a copy on file for 3 years, you should also request a copy for your records.
Ask your bank or credit union how they make sure a contractor is paying their bills. If you are dealing with a lending institution, ask your loan officer what precautions the lending institution takes. Specifically, ask how the institution will verify that your contractor is paying subcontractors and material suppliers.
Check if a contractor is registered online, or call the contractor information line at 1-800-647-0982.
Report a fraudulent or unregistered contractor online, or call the Report-a-Fraud line at 1-888-811-5974.