The Department of Business and Professional Regulation Encourages Consumers to Protect Themselves
March 3, 2009
TALLAHASSEE—This week is the 11th Annual National Consumer Protection Week, and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation encourages Floridians and visitors to protect themselves. DBPR offers online line tools available at MyFloridaLicense.com for consumers to check licenses and more.
“Providing helpful tools so consumers can protect and educate themselves is imperative to DBPR. I urge Floridians to visit our Web site to check licenses, restaurant inspections and licensee complaint history,” said Secretary Charles W. Drago.
Public safety is DBPR’s top priority. One way DBPR protects consumers is by combating unlicensed activity. Unlicensed individuals practice and are paid for work that requires a state license such as cosmetology, construction, catering and certified public accounting. Hiring an unlicensed person can have dire consequences. Unlicensed activity can threaten the financial and personal safety of consumers, as well as the livelihood of state-licensed professionals.
DBPR works to eliminate unlicensed activity through education, prevention and enforcement. DBPR coordinates sweep and sting operations to identify and prosecute these individuals. Prevention and education efforts include a public awareness campaign consisting of public service announcements, educational brochures, Google Ad Words, online advertising, mall displays and bus advertisements.
Here are tips consumers can take to protect themselves:
- 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.
The department’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. The department licenses more than one million businesses and professionals ranging from real estate agents, veterinarians, and accountants to contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit MyFloridaLicense.com.