We hear from consumers from all over the State of Florida who are victims of unlicensed persons in various professions. People hire unlicensed persons for various reasons. Some people tell us they were not aware the person they hired was unlicensed. Some didn't think to ask because they felt they were in a desperate situation or they just “trusted” the character.
A few didn't care at first because they thought they were being a “smart shopper" when they got a cheap price quote. Generally people just don’t realize the potential financial harm they put themselves, their families and often their homes in, when they hire unlicensed persons. Occasionally they hear of people who were taken by an unscrupulous person, but they don’t think it could happen to them.
This section is dedicated to brief anecdotes from letters and complaints filed by consumers who shared their unfortunate experience with hiring an unlicensed and unscrupulous person.
Think it couldn't happen to you? Think again….
Bonifay-April 2015—Pastor signed a contract with an unlicensed contractor to reroof and fix any leaks his church had for $20,500. The unlicensed contractor performed shoddy work. The unlicensed contractor blames churchgoers and the pastor for the leaks, and the steeple was left in disarray. A licensed contracting company estimates that repairs on the shoddy job will be $13,000.
Jacksonville-March 2015—Homeowner signed a contract with an unlicensed individual to perform plumbing services. Contractor was paid $5,100.00 and was terminated because of poor workmanship and unprofessionalism. The homeowner alleged that the contractor caused water damage to the residence and did not repair it.
Case Number: 2015-012168
Ft. Myers-March 2015—Homeowner signed a contract with an unlicensed individual to perform general construction services. Contractor had been paid the full contracted price of $19,500.00, yet still had not finished the job, and was presumed to have abandoned the job. Homeowner wished that he had not gotten into a verbal agreement with the unlicensed contractor.
Case Number: 2015-013473
West Palm-March 2015— Homeowner signed two contracts with an unlicensed contractor to repair exterior landscape lights, replace faulty interior lighting sockets with new bulbs, and to do plumbing maintenance. Homeowner had problems with the repairs that were done. Contractor promised he would come back, but has not. Homeowner had to hire three other contractors to do new work and fix the unlicensed contractor’s shoddy work. $18,836.63 was put into the project by homeowner.
Case Number: 2015-010658
West Palm-February 2015—Homeowner signed with an unlicensed individual to do general contractor work, to paint, and to relocate all AC units. Homeowner had paid contractor a total of $10,037.50. Homeowner stayed in Connecticut for the most part, and the unlicensed contractor would send her pictures of the progress. Homeowner fired contractor when she found that he had actually done very little when she came back. Homeowner then paid $7,000 towards a new contractor to complete the work, amounting to $17,037.50 for the job.
Case Number: 2015-006378
Jacksonville-December 2014— Homeowner signed a contract with an unlicensed individual to roof his house for a total of $11,072.69. The homeowner paid $6,694.52. The job was abandoned prior to completion, and a police report had been filed against the contractor. No work has been done to the homeowner’s house, and the contractor has ignored the homeowner’s phone calls.
Case Number: 2015-023975
Ft. Myers-December 2014— A homeowner signed a contract with an unlicensed individual to make renovations on the homeowner’s kitchen for $26,400. The total amount the homeowner paid was $19,800. The homeowner said the project was complete but everything from the color to size of the appliances was all wrong. The appliances did not fit properly into the intended spaces.
Case Number: 2014-053456
Orlando-October 2014—Homeowner signs with an unlicensed contractor to reroof his home. Homeowner paid $12,189.53 to the unlicensed contractor. At first, the contractor did perform work but, when he got compensation, he abandoned the job.
Tallahassee-September 2014— Complainant contracted with an unlicensed contractor to install two 5-ton AC units with air handlers at a local church. He stated that the air handlers were installed improperly and 4-ton units were put in instead of the contracted 5-ton ones, which damaged the ceilings. The contractor refused to correct the problem. Complainant had to hire another company, and paid $14,658.19 in total for the corrections.
Case Number: 2014-037282
Jacksonville-September 2014—Homeowner hired an unlicensed contractor to make repairs to his fire damaged home, which included roofing, electrical, plumbing, and AC work. A total amount of $55,925 was paid towards the employees and no permits were obtained. According to the homeowner, the work performed was shoddy and he had to purchase materials directly totaling $17,783.69.
Case Number: 2014-041166
Jacksonville-September 2014—Homeowner signs with an unlicensed contractor to perform marine construction, including building a deck, landings, docks, catwalks, stairs, and handrails for a total amount of $23,480.03, which was paid in full by the homeowner. No permits or inspections were obtained. The unlicensed contractor had to pay a $1,500.00 fine.
Case Number: 2014-039987
Miami-September 2014—Homeowner signed a contract with an unlicensed individual. The total price of the project was $10,000.00 of which $7,000.00 was paid to the individual. The job was abandoned, leaving the roof exposed and creating interior damage. A licensed contractor pulled the permits for the work, and the homeowner hired another contractor to finish the job.
Case Number: 2014-040861
Santa Rosa-September 2014—Homeowner signed a contract with an unlicensed individual to reroof her house. The work was substandard and she paid $14,225.95 in total. Several times she saw them causing further damage to the roof and at one point one of the individuals hurt his ankle while on the job. She was notified by two licensed contractors that the roof had to be completely stripped and replaced; she did not have the money to have the roof redone.
Case Number: 2014-037023
Tampa-September 2014—Homeowner was informed by an unlicensed contractor that her roof needed repairs. In total, $7,400.00 was paid to the contractor. His performance was substandard, did not meet building code standards and was unfinished. Her son fired the contractor.
Case Number: 2014-039018
Tampa-July 2014— Homeowner signed a contract with an unlicensed individual to do a roofing job that included replacing shingles, soffits, fascia, and gutters. A total of $6,005.00 was paid by the homeowner for the project. The project was never completed and was abandoned.
Case Number: 2014-032581
July 2014- Homeowner signed a contract to have his home re-roofed for $2,700. The unlicensed individual was paid $2,100 up front and agreed to complete the job in two weeks. After two weeks went by and no work was performed, the homeowner contacted the unlicensed individual and was told that he had no intention of performing the work and no longer had the money.
May 2014- Homeowner signed a contract with an unlicensed pool contractor to resurface a residential pool that included tile work. Homeowner paid a total of $7,875.00 leaving a balance of $11,050. Due to a failure of the homeowner to pay the difference owed, the unlicensed pool company filed a lien against the homeowner’s property.
April 2014- Homeowner signed a contract with an unlicensed individual to install siding, casement windows and picture frame windows for the contract price of $5,306.18. The homeowner paid the unlicensed individual checks totaling $2,653.09. In this particular case a flooring company falsely represented themselves to the homeowner as being able to perform window installation.
Tampa-February 2014— Homeowner signed a contract with an unlicensed contractor to replace a central air-conditioning unit. The contractor disconnected a clogged line, which shot out and struck a fire sprinkler head, pumping out large amounts of water, and flooded six condos in the process. Damage was in excess of $100,000.00.
Case Number: 2014-027345
July 2013- Homeowner signed a contract with an unlicensed AC company to install a 16 seer unit, reroute air ducts, and replace old electrical wiring and piping for $3,769. According to a subsequent contractor, a permit was not pulled and numerous things were wrong with the work performed. The homeowner estimated the cost to correct the faulty work was $1,500.
We hope that you have found the above stories to be informative as to why you should hire licensed professionals to perform work that requires a Florida state license.
If you believe you have been a victim of unlicensed activity, you may want to file a complaint by filling out our Uniform Complaint Form, or by calling our Unlicensed Activity Hotline at 1-866-532-1440 or (850) 487-1395.
If you would like to share with others about your experience with an unlicensed individual or company, please send a brief synopsis of your story to our office email at ULA@myfloridalicense.com. Sharing your story allows others to be aware of the dangers of unlicensed activity and possibly avoid the same unfortunate outcome.