The Department of Business and Professional Regulation Protects Consumers and Licensees with Statewide Unlicensed Activity Operation
February 27, 2009
TALLAHASSEE—This week, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Regulation executed a statewide unlicensed activity enforcement effort aimed at protecting the public from the dangers that can be caused by unlicensed individuals. Division of Regulation staff worked in ten regions throughout the state and checked over 500 licenses during the operation. The enforcement efforts, which were pre-announced to provide an additional opportunity to educate and prevent unlicensed activity, resulted in 86 citations, 41 arrests, 16 cease and desists and 15 notices of non-compliance.
“Many Floridians may not be aware of the dangers that are associated with unlicensed activity, but I have heard first-hand from consumers and licensees who have been harmed,” said Secretary Charles W. Drago. “Their stories have motivated us to increase our efforts and find new ways to combat unlicensed activity.”
Unlicensed activity threatens the financial and personal safety of consumers, leaving them with little to no recourse. State-licensed professionals are also impacted by unlicensed activity. Unlicensed individuals often underbid licensed professionals, but they usually do not carry workers’ compensation or liability insurance, posing an increased threat to consumers and cutting out licensed professionals.
According to licensee and President of Alarmpro, Inc., Norm Mugford, “Unlicensed activity creates a huge financial and legal drain on the resources of the legitimate business community and the state.”
Unlicensed activity can result in a first degree misdemeanor criminal charge and a fine up to $5,000. The department’s ultimate goal is to bring people into compliance with the law. Unlicensed activity charges do not bar an individual from obtaining a license. The department’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly, and the overall goal is to ensure that those providing professional services to Floridians obtain a license in order to comply with the law.
The department uses a variety of tools to help eliminate the practice of unlicensed activity. Pre-announcing the enforcement efforts provides an opportunity to educate consumers and prevent unlicensed activity before it occurs. Partnerships are an important element in the fight against unlicensed activity. Industry partners, as well as other agencies, including local law enforcement, provide vital support during these operations.
“Unlicensed contractors put Floridians at personal and financial risks. Consumers often become victims, and the livelihood of law-abiding state-licensed contractors is threatened,” said Jay Carlson, President of the Florida Home Builders Association and a builder from Port Charlotte, Fla. “Strong enforcement efforts by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation are helping to ensure all consumers are protected.”
“The Construction Coalition applauds the Department of Business and Professional Regulation under the leadership of Secretary Drago for tackling the issue of unlicensed activity head-on with coordinated, statewide efforts, such as this one,” said Lori Killinger, Chair of the Construction Coalition. “Unlicensed activity hurts the consumer and the contractor.”
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.