I am currently building my house. It has come to light that the trade and business licence that the contractor provided is fraud. He changed the years on a previous licence and presented it to me. This matter is now being dealt with by Department of Commerce and Investment. Is there anything that can be done when someone is given fraudulent information to enter a contract? Is the contract valid if the information provided is fraud? I entered the contract on the basis that he was a licensed contractor. He also provided references on previous houses that he did, which I did call and verify. I am now left with an unfinished house and trying to find a new contractor to finish with the funds that are left on the loan. As the contractor was not licensed there is work that has to be corrected on the house as well.
Auntie’s answer: As the case referenced here is being investigated, the Department of Commerce and Investment (DCI) cannot address any of the specific issues, but an official there offered general advice, which I can share.
“If a document has been tampered with the matter will be investigated,” he explained, adding that depending on the nature of the act the matter will be forwarded to the RCIPS or handled by DCI. In addition, “there are some remedies under the ticketing system that may be available”.
Schedule 2 of the Trade and Business Licensing Law, 2014 sets out ticketable offences including “Carrying on a trade or business in or from within the Islands without a valid licence (first offence only)”, which has a fixed penalty of $500; and “Destroying or altering or causing to be destroyed or altered, any document, record, equipment or other property found in the course of a search”, which carries a $2,500 penalty.
By the way, the DCI website maintains a list of companies that hold valid trade and business licences. Here is a link to the list.
For any contract dispute I suggest you seek the advice of a lawyer.
The law mentioned in this column can be found on the CNS Library.
Category: Ask Auntie