Email from a License Guru Blog Reader

Below is an email from a License Guru Blog reader describing her CSLB experience review nightmare.

CSLB Red Tape“I have been following the license guru blog for about 7 months now which is just 3 months short of the full year my husband has been getting the run around from the investigator assigned to his file.  On 06/13/13 the application was submitted and from there everything that you could possibly imagine in your worst nightmare happened.  The investigator began with requests for additional documentation to support the work experience forms that were submitted by two previous employers.  So the dog and pony show began.

We would get the documents and then submit them  only to find out that she needed one more thing…something she did not request the first go around,  and on and on this went on with the two employers, her, us and then she asked for more 1099’s which led to more people being sent forms for work experience, permits, pretty much everything but them signing in blood.  Even with certified mail it seemed she just did not have all the items to find the 4 years of experience she needed.  Or her other excuse was she could not contact the people….which is totally a lie since each and every person never received phone calls from her and we checked with them and found that she had not left messages or attempted.  Finally it was to the point that she made it her mission to deny this application.  Literally a day before his test date she said you might as well just not take it since you will not be approved for your work experience anyway.  It was amazing the total inexperience and lack of support.  Something that we felt needed to be brought the attention of her supervisors.  So, we called a meeting and did just that.  We went with the full binder of documentation with all supporting documents on a job by job basis from each previous employer and we also asked for each employer prior to that day if they would mind being called on our meeting day if necessary to speak with CSLB or answer any questions.  All agreed and were on stand by.  Also realize we ended up pulling 1099’s over 12 year period…and had letters written to explain what each job entailed along with building permits and copies of receipts.  I mean we were prepared!  When we got into the meeting we sat down with the investigator and two supervisors.  She said, “So what are we hear for today?”  Of course I wanted to say are you freaking kidding me?  But I let my husband start and so he said Basically we are confused why this is taking so long to verify my work experience.  All of this information is so detailed and we have letters, permits, 1099’s, W2’s, and even have pictures (even thought she said they were not acceptable) we brought them to show the quality work he has done.  She said, “Well i have only been able to verify 14 months and there is just not all the pieces to support the rest.  So that is when I said, I have prepared this binder with all the documents that have been sent to you.  But it has been organized in a way to show each job, timeframes, support, pictures, etc.  So, I handed it to the Supervisors and they started to view and started to ask the investigator what she could not verify.  She flipped through her mess of folders, which was all scribble and unorganized and when I said what is missing with employer #1, as she looked for that persons name she said oh I don’t see that one.  Hmmm was that one returned to me?  And so the meeting rolled on with much more of this same thing…her fumbling, us proving, Supervisors eyebrows raising, questions  about why this had not proceeded, etc…finally the last straw was when she called out one employer as not being able to specify that my husband did structural work for them.  She literally put words into the employers mouth and how we know that is what transpired next.  A phone call was made per the request of her supervisors to call the employer in question (one that would support 3 years of experience) the employer got on the phone and the investigator started the manipulation right in front of us.  She said remember when i asked you about what “my husband” did for you?  I asked if he did structural work and you said that he did sheetrock and remodels.  The employer said yes that is true, so the investigator said so he did not do any structural work on the jobs he did for you.  The employer said well wait a minute i guess the way it was asked of me made me think of it as new construction work, so no our work has not been brand new construction…but the work he has done is basically taking everything on old construction down to wood and foundation and rebuilding with new electrical, plumbing and framing, pretty much the works.  Plus he has supervised a crew to do so…so yes if that means structural then absolutely.  Well, bingo it was pretty much a given that the original conversation with no one to witness was most definately manipulated.  After the phone call, I just stated that I did not feel as if the investigator really understood her job, and that she was not in any way helpful.  The Supervisor asked if I could leave the binder.  I said I was uncomfortable with that since it was clear that the investigator had obviously lost documents previously sent via certified mail and that I would prefer they make another copy of all the documents that she should already all have at the meeting today.

So they sent her to make some copies.  Meanwhile they agreed that there was plenty of documentation and that we would not need to go to the hearing….it would be moved on from the investigator to the next step.  Upon her arrival back into the room one of the Supervisors was clearly irritated with her and said they were hiring for investigator positions and wondered if I was interested in applying!  He went on to say he was very impressed by the documentation binder that was presented by us and our presentation of it.  The investigator gave out a loud scowl and stormed out of the room.  Well I guess she does not like me!

Anyway,  we are still waiting for the final paperwork to come back…we have called and CSLB says it is in final stage and paperwork should be coming to tell us about securing the bond so that the license number can be issued.  That was 2 weeks ago!  I can’t believe this and I also realize now that majority of people that have this happen would just give up.  It has been a fight and something I would not wish on my worst enemy.

Any recommendations on what to do now?  When you check his application number online it just says application denied, do not schedule exam, but that has been that way since right after his exam was scheduled and he passed!  Amazing, what to do?  I feel like this is borderline unethical, and borderline against the law!  In addition there have been 3 major jobs that have come and gone that my husband could have bid on had he been licensed.  Possible loss of income not to mention the hours spent on phone, document preparation, mail and on and on.

Very tired and very frustrated.”

I want to thank this reader for sharing her CSLB experience with us. She has shown that the CSLB does not know how to handle people who are prepared and willing to stand up to them. As of this posting, the app is still in limbo. My guess is, the CSLB is trying to resolve this without making themselves look any worse than they already do.

If you find yourself in this situation…. put together a neatly prepared, organized binder and request a meeting with the CSLB. And remember…. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING, including phone calls!! Always ask the CSLB to put their requests in writing! This is vital!

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CSLB Application Processing Part 2

Here we are again, CSLB application processing part 2, where I received a screen shot of an application timeline.

This poor guy is being bounced around like a golf ball in a blender. You can see in the image below that the application was submitted on 4/30/13. After being sent to the case management unit for a flag that was cleared on 7/17, almost three months later, the app was then sent to a licensing supervisor on 8/1. I’m assuming this was either a classification clarification or experience related. On 8/5 the supervisor returned the application to the technician with instructions to reject the app to the applicant for a correction. Then on 9/18, the application was sent back to the licensing supervisor for review again. I’m assuming to review the classification clarification or experience outline. The application was also sent to a “License Deputy” for review. Again, I’m assuming it’s for experience. On 10/1 the app is returned to the application technician with instructions to post the app and schedule him for the exams.

You would think that should be the end of it. It’s been to a supervisor twice and to a “licensing deputy.” But no… the app is referred to the Application Investigation Unit or AIU on the same day they schedule the exams. This is the part that really fries my shorts. Why do they insist on scheduling applicants for the exams AND send them to the AIU to verify their experience? If they are not qualified for the exams, and they require the applicant to prove his experience with the AIU, why send them to exams in the first place?

Moving on, the application is “out for investigation” on 10/7, but an “investigator” in the AIU will take at least a month before he/she contacts the applicant. On 10/22 the applicant passes both the law and business and trade exams.

Here we are, it’s January 15th, and the application is still “out for investigation.” Full disclosure… the applicant hasn’t told me yet what communication he’s had with the investigator, if any. So it could be that he’s submitted documents to be reviewed and is waiting for a determination to be made. Or, he may still be waiting to hear from the investigator.

Bottom line… anybody could look at the process this application has gone through and wonder if the Contractors State License Board is truly inept or just dysfunctional. Why did a “licensing deputy” review and apparently approve the application and then sent it to enforcement? Does the “licensing deputy” have the necessary training and experience to adequately review an application? The timeline below suggests, No.

If you find yourself in this situation, contact your State Assembly Member’s office and file a complaint with them. You can also file a complaint directly with the CSLB. Click on this link to download the pdf. CSLBClientServicesComplaintAndSuggestionForm I know that is kind of like asking the fox to look over the hen house, but at least the Registrar’s office is aware of what’s going on under his nose.

CSLB Application Processing Part 2

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The CSLB Strikes Again!

The CSLB Strikes Again with its over-stepping of power.

Is it incompetence? Does the right hand not know what the left is doing? Is there information that you/me/us/the applicant aren’t being told? How is it that someone has to put down $300 onto a State agency roulette table and hope that their number DOESN’T come up? What do I mean by that? You pay your $300 application filing fee and you have to hope that you don’t get sucked into the vortex known as the Application Investigation Unit (AIU). Apps seem to be entering this vortex only to be spit out, and then sucked back in again.

Look at the history of two applications below. One of them went thru the AIU blender, got spit out with their blessing and instructions to the tech to refer the applicant to testing, only to suck the app back in to their vortex once again?

cslb strikes again



02/20/2013 NOTICE TO APPEAR FOR EXM 03/11/2013

How is this possible?
Does the CSLB NOT know that they are messing with people’s livelihoods?
Does the CSLB think that hard working people have nothing better to do but sit around and wait for the AIU vortex to get their act together?
All of these things fall under the category of….. WTF!!!!

I, always looking to punish myself by trying to figure out why the CSLB does what it does, think they ought to make the application submittal fee ZERO! Then they can toss all the apps into the AIU vortex and the apps that get approved (after months of waiting) can THEN pay the $300. That way, no one has to put money on the roulette table with a high probability that they’ll lose it.

Here’s another example, an applicant got sucked into the vortex…BUT… he had complete documentation of his experience. All of this experience was hand delivered. The W-2’s, the pay stubs, the tax returns. Was this good enough for the CSLB? Of Course Not!! Are you silly?!?! No, they still sent forms to the employers for them to re-double verify that YES, the tax returns, the W-2’s, the Pay stubs in fact, did not Lie! Imagine it? Legal documents, approved by the IRS, were validated by the employers!

Give me a break!

How about the Enforcement Reps (sitting at their desks, not performing the “comprehensive field investigation” that the law requires) get off their you-know-what’s and go after the non-licensed people who aren’t doing the right thing by trying to obtain their license??

One last note… should the Test be the “litmus test”? I could create an application that would get past any tech in the licensing unit, but I don’t have the skills and experience in the trades to be able to pass the test. So, I say, if you can pass the test, you should be given a license. That’s how it works at the DMV, isn’t it? lol

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Contractors License Schools

Many contractors license schools offer guarantees. Who should you believe?

I found an interesting blog post today put out by one of my competitors.

What’s interesting about it is that the whole post is basically and advertisement for their company wrapped in a neat little “information” wrapper.

Now, I’m not saying that what was written was entirely incorrect, just some of it. And my service was not included, so I guess I should be thankful. I can only assume I wasn’t included because I don’t fraudulently call myself a “school” like they do.

What’s wrong?

My main issue (as I stated above) has always been and remains to be so today, is that these places call themselves “schools.” They are not educators teaching you your trade. They, just like all of us, are there to assist you in passing your exams. So it’s a wonder that this company and others like it continue to be allowed to use the word “school.”

Driving School – teaches you how to drive
Mechanic School – teaches you how to turn a wrench
Culinary School – teaches you how to cook
Contractors School – teaches you how to perform a trade? NO! They show you have to pass a state exam. Period.

Case in point… a good friend of mine, who happens to have a master’s in education and a teaching degree was offered $50,000 to be an instructor at one of the contractors license schools. Can he teach? You bet! Did he know anything about construction? Not a single thing! Degree or no degree, how can someone teach you: 1) what you should already know, and 2) something that he doesn’t know?

Anyway… moving on… (their post is below)

Beware??? Who closed their doors and made this company the contractors license schools police.

Being a member of the BBB means nothing. The BBB is just a membership club that gives its “paying” members higher scores. Pay their fee, you get a high score. The BBB is not a regulatory agency and has no authority over anything or anybody.

Claims having over 650 practice test questions? It appears this company believes the material they make up is the best on the market. So not true!

Claims to complete your application for you? This is a service I offer, and yes, I do take the information from the applicant and fill out their form. But, being a former cslb app tech, I can’t tell you how many apps I rejected because the applicant may have had all the necessary information, but failed to put it in the app the correct way. “Schools” that don’t let you take the study materials home? I suggest, don’t bother going to one of these “schools” in the first place.

“Schools” that DO NOT offer a guaranty. Really? Have you read any of the guarantee’s offered by these “schools”? One says you have to prove that you’ve taken the test several times, have requested and studied their “updated” materials, then and only then, will they give you any money back. What a joke. That would take a year, and only if you followed all twelve steps they want you to follow. If their materials were any good, you would have passed the first time and not needed several attempts to pass.

Schools claiming to be “State Certified” contractors license schools?? Wait.. so it’s ok to call yourself a “school” but don’t you dare call yourself a State Certified contractors license school? C’mon!

The post stated:

BEWARE of Schools that offer or don’t offer the following:

Schools that are NOT Members of the Better Business Bureau
Claims over 650 practice test questions per course
Claims having On-Line course at this time
Claiming to complete your application for you
Claims they can set the State Exam date for you
Schools that DON’T let you take or keep your study materials
Schools that service Licensing for Multiple States
Schools that offer large discounts
Schools claiming to be a “State Certified” Schools

Next, they state:
It is difficult to select a Contractors Licensing School over the internet. You should be aware of the consumer’s issues and we have completed an intensive analysis of the current Contractors Schools Market.

My response:

They have completed an “intensive analysis” of the current Contractors license schools market? Really? They compared 4 out of the 40 they say are in existence. Apparently this poster didn’t read anything he wrote after he wrote it. Note, I’m not giving away the identity of this “school” or the other contractors license schools they analyzed because they would just end up emailing me to tell me how right I am, and I hate it when they do that.

Next, they posted:

All schools listed INCLUDE:

Specializes in California State Contractors Licensing
Home Study for Contractors Trade Courses
Study Manuals for Trade and Law & Business
Course Instruction Classes on Audio CDs
California State License Forms and Applications
Standard Telephone and Email Support
A minimum of 400 practice test questions per course
Allows you to keep your study Materials after Exam
Home study courses and study manuals? Pretty much the same thing!
Course instruction classes on audio cd’s? How about audio and video like the materials I sell.

CSLB forms can be downloaded by anyone, anytime from the CSLB website. It’s nice of this company to include this in their list, but every service or “school” provides these. I even email the forms to people who aren’t my clients! They call looking for the form, I send it to them.

How does this company get to decide that 400 practice questions are acceptable? Is that a number they just pulled out of thin air? They say “beware” of materials with over 650 questions because they know that the materials I and others sell from a publisher with 30+yrs in this business offer the most comprehensive practice exams with that many practice questions. And they know that they are far superior to what any “school” has created.

contractors license schools

Final comment about guarantee’s:

I don’t offer one because:
I have no control over how you study and how long you study
I have no control over how you retain information
I have no control over how well you take tests
I have no control over your state of mind when you are taking the tests

I can only state that 98% of people who use the materials I offer pass their exams. After that, it’s all up to you! Besides that, a guaranty suggests that the materials being offered are not worth the money you paid for them. A guaranty is not going to make some “schools” materials any better.

Final final comment about guarantee’s:

Why would you buy materials from a company that feels they need to offer a guaranty, go thru all of that studying, taking the tests, failing because the contractors license schools materials were substandard, only then to jump thru their hoops to get your money back and have to buy quality materials from another company (The Contractors License Guru) so that you can pass the tests!

Guaranty from the company discussed above?

My favorite is #15… 200% Refund. No Questions Asked. LOL You only have to jump thru 14 simple hoops to get there AND #7 says they’ll tell you when YOU can re-test! No thank you!

To obtain your 200% Refund follow these Simple steps;

Enough Study Time; You must provide yourself adequate time for study. Typically a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks is needed to prepare for each per course.

When you get your Exam date; Email us at … and include your Name, Trade, Order# Date of Purchase and Fax# or call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

We will fax you any Course Updates (within 48 hours) that have been created since your original course date. Review and study the new updated exam questions.
On the day of your Exam; note any information that you were required to know for the state exams that was not covered in our course materials.

After the Exam; email us your feedback on any additional course questions you may have or we didn’t’t cover in our classes to: …, or fax them to (xxx-xxx-xxxx), or call us at (xxx-xxx-xxxx).

If you fail the state exams for any reason; FAX your State Exam Failure Notice to us at (xxx-xxx-xxxx) and continue to study. Call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx to discuss any additional study materials or answers to questions you may have.

Do not Re-Schedule your Exam until advised; we will stay in contact with you until you get the additional study materials you need to pass. It is best to re-schedule your Exam Date only after you are ready for the Exam. We will review each of your questions; our editors will review your feedback and send you additional study materials and updates.

When you receive your updates; replace any old questions and answers with the new ones and study any additional questions, answers and explanations.

Re-Schedule your Exam Date; re-schedule your exam date ONLY after you have received your updates, studied your materials and feel you are ready for the Exam.

If you do not pass the second time; repeat the above instructions and send us your additional feedback regarding the study questions.

If you fail a third time; repeat the above instructions and send us your additional feedback regarding the study questions. send your third exam feed back questions.

You will receive a 200% course Refund; after completing the above tasks and have actively participated in the Contractors Circle we will refund 200% of your original course purchase price. If you passed one of your exams but failed to pass the other we will refund you for only the exam you failed three times.

To receive your 200% Refund; just return all your course materials and comply with the above tasks. 200% Refund, NO QUESTIONS ASKED!

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