Everclear Water Systems has scammed as many as 50 consumers, according to the California Contractors State License Board, which caught the water filtration contracting company in an undercover sting.

Two employees of the company may be charged with conspiracy to commit grand theft, false and misleading representation, and contracting without a license. The company owner, Aurora Elizabeth Vergara, was issued a citation for contracting without a license in Modesto, Calif., in November.

The scam, which targets Hispanic residents, involves a two- to four-hour home presentation, which includes scare tactics about dangerous tap water and bogus field water testing. Consumers are then asked to sign a contract for anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 payable over five years. The contract doesn't include a "Truth in Lending" statement or a "Right to Cancel" clause. The sales pitch is given in Spanish, but the contract is in English, a violation of the Civil Code.

Consumers who call the company to cancel the contract do not have their calls returned, or are told they must pay a $150 cancellation or presentation fee. The filtration system is sometimes installed before the three-day recision period is up, a violation of the Business and Professions Code.

Consumers are warned to watch for similar scams taking place statewide, and are being urged to contact the Contractors State License Board at 800/235-6393 if they suspect they've been a victim.