The Department of Business and Professional Regulation Protects Consumers with Statewide Unlicensed Activity Operation
June 28, 2010
TALLAHASSEE—Last week, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation conducted its statewide unlicensed activity operation. Sweep and sting operations were held throughout Florida to protect consumers from the personal and financial harm that can result from hiring unlicensed individuals. DBPR partnered with local law enforcement agencies, building departments, and workers’ compensation representatives to visit 446 worksites and checked 359 working individuals and businesses for state-required licensure. DBPR and partners issued 18 citations, 13 cease and desists, and made one arrest.
“During the final statewide operation for this fiscal year, investigators found less unlicensed activity than during past operations,” said Interim Secretary Charlie Liem. “I hope this is an indication of the impact our efforts are having on decreasing unlicensed activity.”
A sweep involves checking licenses to ensure compliance with state laws; a sting involves undercover operations where known or suspected unlicensed individuals are targeted. Twelve sweeps and five stings were conducted.
Hiring unlicensed individuals can threaten the financial and personal safety of consumers, as well as the livelihood of state-licensed professionals. Unlicensed individuals may not carry workers’ compensation or liability insurance, and consumers may end up paying for injuries on the job. Additionally, unlicensed individuals often underbid licensed professionals, which results in law-abiding professionals losing work to those who do not meet state licensure requirements.
Below are precautions that consumers can take to help protect themselves from unlicensed individuals:
- Check whether a state license is required for the work to be performed by visiting “What Services Require a DBPR License.”
- Always ask to see the State of Florida license.
- Note the license number and verify that the license is current. 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 a Release of Lien covering all workers and materials. This removes your property from the threat of lien.
- 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.