HVAC contractors must be licensed in New Jersey and hold a current, valid license.  It is also illegal for a contractor to use another contractor’s license, just as it is illegal for someone to use another’s driver’s license.  Always ask to see the contractor’s pocket license and another form of identification.

Besides being illegal, unlicensed contractors lack accountability and have a high rate of involvement in construction scams.  Unlicensed contractors are unfair competition for licensed contractors.  They are able to offer reduced rates because they have not paid licensing fees, haven’t obtained a bond that protects their work, and likely are not carrying liability or worker’s compensation insurance. It is very unlikely the contractor has pulled the necessary building permits, which may suggest the work is being done outside of code requirements.

Individuals that hire an unlicensed contractor could be considered in violation of the law. In addition to partaking in criminal activity, one slip or fall from the unlicensed contractor may land the homeowner in court, as the worker may file a negligence lawsuit against the homeowner, which likely will not be covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy.

Section 608 of the Clean Air Act states that all persons involved in the handling, transfer, maintenance, or installation of equipment that contains refrigerants regulated by federal law must be certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is a violation of the law to work under somebody else’s certification.

“Contractors who do not follow the laws on licensing or Section 608 compliance take advantage of homeowners, undercut legitimate contractors, and give the industry a bad name,” said Charlie McCrudden, vice president of government affairs, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). “Despite the scope of this problem, it is in the best interest of all to rid the industry of those who cheat the system.”

Remember, when we turn a blind eye to unlicensed activity, we not only deny legitimate HVAC contractors business – we also allow unlicensed contractors to undermine and damage the reputation of licensed HVAC companies striving to build honest, reputable businesses.  Unreported, unlicensed activity gives the green light to others who feel there are no repercussions to performing HVAC services without the proper licensing, bonding, and insurance.

Do not be mistaken – unlicensed HVAC-R companies are CRIMINALS – they rob homeowners and businesses of the protections that come with a licensed, bonded and insured HVAC-R contractor!  They rob legitimate, licensed HVAC-R contractors business and affect the bottom line.