Hiring a Handyman? Screen Workers Closely: BBB

Handymen typically perform work that costs $500 or less and aren't regulated by the city or state

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    Otay Mesa resident Helby Patron lets her children play on the same street where National City police arrested a man Wednesday on charges of rape.

    “It’s scary,” she exclaims after she learns that suspect Isaac Acuna was taken down by officers right in front of her home.

    BBB Advises Homeowners to Screen Handymen

    [DGO] BBB Advises Homeowners to Screen Handymen
    NBC 7's Omari Fleming talks with the San Diego BBB about a case in which a handyman is accused of raping a woman who hired him to paint her home. (Published Friday, May 9, 2014)

    “He was our neighbor we want to make sure we have safe neighbor around here. We sleep here. We want to sleep good,” Patron said.

    The 33 year-old handyman is accused of raping the National City woman who hired him to paint her home, officials said.

    A family man had recommended Acuna for the job, investigators said.

    On May 6, the worker allegedly made unwanted advances toward the woman, which she rejected.

    He then forcibly raped her before leaving her home, according to National City Police Sgt. Alejandro Hernandez.

    Acuna -- who has no prior arrests-- was released from jail Thursday on a $75,000 bail. He is expected to appear in court Monday.

    Sherly Reichert heads the San Diego Better Business Bureau.

    “We always encourage someone when they get a handyman to get at least three bids. When you're talking to three different people and two are on their game and one seems shady, listen to the voice in back of your head,” Reichert said.

    Handymen typically perform work that costs $500 or less and aren't regulated by the city or state.

    Since 2005, contractors seeking a state license have been required to submit fingerprints and a background check.

    Last year according to the Contractors State Licensing Board, of the more than 18,000 state applicants, nearly 3,700 had a criminal history.

    Fifty-eight were denied licenses because of criminal convictions. Seventy-nine received probationary licenses.

    “Use a company that you know. One that checks their employees out before you hire them and has those strong hiring practices to do the background checks on your behalf.”

    That’s important advice because officials say the state’s background check only covers the person applying for the license. Not all employees in the company.