State Licensing Agency Issues Consumer Advisory in Wake of Tropical Storm Debby
June 27, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) today urged consumers to hire only licensed professionals as clean-up begins in the wake of Tropical Storm Debby. Flooding has impacted many counties and at least 10 counties have been affected by tornado activity brought by the storm. DBPR also encouraged consumers who suspect someone is performing unlicensed activity to post or tweet pictures to the Department’s social media channels, enabling inspectors to gather information from areas that may have limited accessibility.
“These storms are dangerous, often unpredictable and usually leave wide paths of destruction as they pass through the state,” said Secretary Ken Lawson. “Floridians can prioritize their safety by preparing in advance and can protect themselves from post-storm scams and unlicensed activity by checking licenses.”
During a declared state of emergency, unlicensed activity typically increases as scam artists prey on desperate situations. Unlicensed activity during a declared state of emergency is a criminal offense and may be punishable by fines or even prison 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 Andriod mobile app. (link to info on 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.
Get everything in writing, including a detailed description of the work to be completed, a completion date and the total cost.
Floridians can also notify the Department of Business and Professional Regulation of any suspected unlicensed activity by calling 1-866-532-1440, emailing ULA@dbpr.state.fl.us or posting a picture with the address where the work is being performed to the Department’s Facebook or Twitter pages. Floridians can find additional information on creating a plan and tips on weathering the storms this Hurricane Season 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.