The Department of Business and Professional Regulation Sweeps Florida to Fight Unlicensed Activity
February 18, 2009
TALLAHASSEE—In an effort to combat unlicensed activity, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Regulation is planning a statewide unlicensed activity sweep during the last week in February. This effort is part of the division’s three-tiered approach to combat unlicensed activity through education, prevention and enforcement. Investigators will perform compliance checks across Florida in an effort to prosecute unlicensed individuals and assist them with becoming licensed.
“DBPR is dedicated to ensuring compliance with state laws and protecting Floridians from the harm posed by hiring unlicensed individuals. We are sending a strong message that unlicensed activity will not be tolerated,” said Secretary Charles W. Drago.
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. In one case, nearly 100 senior citizens reported that an unlicensed contractor promised to install hurricane shutters and then disappeared with their money. In another situation, a consumer suffered a financial loss of $130,000 for home improvements after being deceived by an unlicensed individual.
The Division of Regulation will conduct sweeps from the ten district offices around the state. To perform these operations, they will partner with other agencies, including local law enforcement, building and code enforcement departments, State Attorney’s offices, and the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Workers’ Compensation. Specific locations will not be disclosed at this time; however, an extensive summary will be distributed at the conclusion of the operation.
Through education, prevention and enforcement, the department works to eliminate this risky activity. These increased efforts are in response to concerns from both citizens and licensed professionals. Efforts include a public awareness campaign consisting of public service announcements, educational brochures, Google Ad Words, online advertising, and a soon-to-be unveiled unlicensed activity Web page.
Below are precautions that consumers can take to help protect themselves from unlicensed individuals:
- 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.