July 17, 2009
You've often heard me talk about unlicensed activity and the dangers it poses to consumers and the fact that it steals work from law-abiding licensees. Last week, our Division of Regulation staff in the Jacksonville office executed a sting operation to arrest unlicensed individuals who left a victim out of money and without a roof over her head. The story paints a clear picture of the dangers of unlicensed activity.
The victim needed to redo the roof on her house, and she received an attractive quote for $2,000 for the entire job. Soon after she paid the person for the work, the unlicensed individual tore the roof off her house and never returned. The woman called the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to report the scam. DBPR partnered with the Sheriff's Office to lure the unlicensed individuals to the victim's home and arrest two individuals for unlicensed contracting.
In this case, the victim was literally left without a roof overhead. It's my understanding that she still has a blue tarp covering the damage caused by the unlicensed people. I'm grateful these unscrupulous individuals were arrested, and I'd like to provide you with some tips on protecting yourselves:
* Always ask to see the State of Florida license.
* Note the license number and verify that the license is current and in good standing. To check a license, call 850-487-1395 or visit MyFloridaLicense.com.
* Ask for references and check each one.
* Do not pay cash and be cautious of writing checks made payable to individuals, especially when dealing with a company.
* Get everything in writing, including a detailed description of the work to be completed, a completion date and the total cost.
* Report suspected unlicensed activity at MyFloridaLicense.com or toll-free at 1-866-532-1440.
Additionally, licensed contractors are reminded to hire licensed subcontractors when required for work such as plumbing and electrical.
Consumers and licensees play a large role in combating unlicensed activity, and education is the first step in protecting yourselves and others.
Charles W. Drago
Department of Business and
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
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