Uncovering Conflicts with Unlicensed Contractor

An Imperial Beach woman contacted NBC 7 Responds after she said she paid a man thousands of dollars for a sliding door order and installation, only to never hear from him again.

An Imperial Beach woman contacted NBC 7 Responds after she said she paid a man thousands of dollars for a sliding door order and installation, only to never hear from him again. 

Sheri Gilmore said she was fighting a losing battle with termites around her house, so she decided to replace her wooden door. 

“I thought six weeks to order the door and he’d put it in when it came,” Sheri said. 

Sheri hired Pacific Home Remodeling for projects around her home. She was happy with their work so when one of the subcontractor employees, John Ferraro, offered to replace her sliding glass door on his own, separate from the remodeling company, she agreed. 

“And he said, ‘I’ll order it, you pay for it.’ And he gave me these prices and picked out the screen for me,” Sheri said. 

Sheri said she paid Ferraro more than three quarters of the cost of the project upfront, three checks totalling $2,595. When the agreed upon installation date passed with no word from Ferraro, Sheri said she gave him a call. 

“Several phone calls, then his mailbox was full and I couldn’t get ahold of him,” Sheri said. Despite this, she said she decided to give him one last chance and managed to reach him on the phone. 

“He said ‘Ok I’ll be there Saturday, I’ll call you Friday night to confirm,’” Sheri said. “Well he didn’t call Friday night and he didn’t show up on Saturday.” 

Sheri contacted NBC 7 Responds. We searched state records and found Ferraro is not a licensed contractor. The Contractors State Licensing Board confirmed with NBC 7 Responds that neither Ferraro nor his business, Gemini Pacific Home Remodeling, are licensed in California. 

In California, a contractor must be licensed when hired for work worth more than $500. 

We reached out to Pacific Home Remodeling and a representative told us Ferraro had no right to solicit personal business while working on the original project. They also said, Ferraro was not one of their employees, he was hired by a subcontractor. 

“I don’t have my money and I don’t have my door,” Sheri said.

NBC 7 Responds reached Ferraro by phone. Ferraro told us he would return the money to Sheri but almost a month later, Sheri hasn’t received a penny. 

Pacific Home Remodeling was not responsible for Ferraro’s actions but told NBC 7 Responds that if Sheri paid for a new door, they would install it for free. 

“It’s clean and beautiful and has no termites,” Sheri said, observing her new door being installed. 

When NBC 7 Responds asked Ferraro for an interview, he said he would only talk to us if it was live. NBC 7 Responds said we could record an interview or Ferraro could provide a written statement but we have not heard back from him. 

Unfortunately, problems with contractors can be common. If you’re planning to hire contractors to have work done around the house, here are some things you should know to protect yourself: 

  • Never put down more than 10% or $1,000, whichever is less, to get the project started. According to the Contractors State License Board, it’s illegal for a contractor to ask you to put down more than that.

  • Make sure everything is in writing. You want to have a formal contract drawn up, even if the contractor you’re doing business with is a friend or family member.

  • Always verify that you’re working with a licensed contractor. The state’s website has an easy-to-use tool to search by name or business. To see the state’s website, click here

To read more advice from the Contractors State Licensing Board, click here

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