DBPR: In Wake of Tropical Storm Andrea, Hire Licensed Professionals for Repairs
June 7, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As clean-up after Tropical Storm Andrea in northern and central Florida begins, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) today urged consumers to hire licensed professionals for repairs and recovery. Consumers are also encouraged to post or tweet pictures to the Department’s social media channels if they suspect someone is performing unlicensed activity, enabling on-the-ground inspectors to gather information from areas that may have limited accessibility. DBPR can be found on twitter with the tag @FloridaDBPR and on Facebook under ‘Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’.
“Many residents in northern and central Florida have been adversely impacted by this storm,” said Secretary Ken Lawson. “It is important that consumers protect themselves from post-storm scams and unlicensed activity by checking licenses as they begin repairs to their homes and businesses.”
During a declared state of emergency, unlicensed activity typically increases as scam artists prey on desperate situations, putting families at risk. Unlicensed activity during a declared state of emergency is a felony offense and may be punishable by fines and even imprisonment if convicted.
The following tips may help consumers better identify unlicensed activity:
- 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, visit www.MyFloridaLicense.com or download the DBPR iPhone or Android mobile app.
- Ask for references and check each one.
- Avoid paying cash and be cautious of writing checks made payable to individuals, especially when dealing with a company.
- Ask for all records and receipts in writing, including a detailed description of the work agreement, a completion date and the total cost.
In addition to social media pages, Floridians can always notify the Department of Business and Professional Regulation of any suspected unlicensed activity by calling 1-866-532-1440 or emailing ULA@dbpr.state.fl.us. More information on creating a plan and tips on weathering the storms this Hurricane Season can be found at www.FloridaDisaster.org.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. The Department licenses and regulates more than one million businesses and professionals ranging from hotels and restaurants, real estate agents and certified public accountants to veterinarians, contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit www.MyFloridaLicense.com.
More information about DBPR is available online at www.myfloridalicense.com. Also, follow @FloridaDBPR on Twitter or Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation on Facebook for updates about license cycles, events and other important news.