For Immediate Release - March 10, 2011

Twenty Unlicensed Electricians Caught in Craigslist Sting by Division of Professional Licensure

Consumers advised to check licenses before hiring an electrician for house work

BOSTON - March 10, 2011 - Twenty unlicensed electricians were caught advertising their services on Craigslist in a sting engineered by the Patrick-Murray Administration's Division of Professional Licensure.

All 20 cases are currently being reviewed by the Board of Electricians and Alarm System Installers, and the 20 unlicensed electricians face fines of up to $1,000 for unlicensed practice. Electricians must be licensed to do work in a home, and should include their license number in advertising.

"It is imperative that consumers use a licensed electrician, even when it might be a simple project like installing a light fixture," said Barbara Anthony, the Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "Unlicensed electricians may not know the details of building codes, may not handle the permitting process appropriately, and will likely leave the consumer with no recourse if the work is incomplete or shoddily done."

In the investigations, Division of Professional Licensure personnel purchased hardware for a light or socket installation. The Division used homes in Quincy, Norwell, Winthrop and Worcester. Checking Craigslist advertisements, investigators identified advertisers that did not include a license number. After contacting the unlicensed electricians by phone, investigators met contractors at the home and discussed details of the project and asked for license information. In some cases the unlicensed electricians did not use their last names, and many demanded cash for payment.

Consumers who are planning on hiring an electrician should consider the following the tips to make sure they are using a qualified electrician for a job:

· Make sure any advertising includes a license number. If there is no license number in the advertisement, request the information immediately.

· Check the electrician's license history at www.mass.gov/dpl. The history will include any disciplinary actions against the licensee.

· If the electrician demands cash as payment and nothing else, this could be a sign of an electrician skirting the rules.

· Get a reference from family or friends, but still take the time to check the licensee's background.

The Board of Electricians and Alarm System Installers regulates approximately 35,000 licensees and is part of the Division of Professional Licensure, which is a regulatory agency responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for approximately 330,000 licensees across 43 trades and professions under the jurisdiction of 31 Boards of Registration. The Division of Professional Licensure is an agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Follow the Office at www.mass.gov/consumer, its Consumer Connections Blog and at its Twitter feed, @Mass_Consumer.