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Angie’s List, which now has 750,000 premium paying members, says it will begin verifying the credentials of local service companies. Those found to be out of compliance will have an opportunity to comply or face an outing from Angie’s List. The company will also begin lobbying state officials to strengthen state policies toward listing service credentials.

“Licensing laws vary greatly across the country and even among cities within the same state, which makes it hard for contractors to keep track of what’s required and what isn’t. Consumers don’t have a chance of figuring it out without help,” said cofounder Angie Hicks in a release. “Angie’s List will be working to make it easier for them. But the key to really accomplishing a better system will fall to lawmakers.”

Most states issue licenses for at least some contractors, including plumbers, electricians, heating and cooling specialists, handymen, builders and remodelers. However, the licensing requirements can be befuddling.

“A current trade license won’t guarantee that your contractor will complete your job perfectly, but it will give you some insight into how your contractor handles his or her business,” Hicks said. “In communities where licensure is required, unlicensed contractors are breaking the law. If he or she breaks this one, what others will they break? If the contractor doesn’t know he or she needs a license to operate, what does that say about how on top of things he or she is?”

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