In wake of natural disaster, hire licensed professionals
December 16, 2013
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) urges Floridians affected by natural disasters to always hire licensed professionals. As Florida families who have been impacted by possible tornados in Flagler County assess damage to their homes, it’s important to remember to only hire licensed professionals for home repairs and recovery.
“As a regulatory agency, DBPR has many responsibilities to the people of the state of Florida,” said DBPR Secretary Ken Lawson. “One of those responsibilities is to ensure we are doing all that we can to protect consumers from potential scam artists or individuals who are performing work without the proper state-issued license. This act is called unlicensed activity and it is not only against the law, it also poses serious financial risks to consumers.”
DBPR prides itself on its quick response to assisting Florida families who may be affected by unlicensed activity. Floridians are encouraged to post or tweet pictures to the DBPR’s social media channels if they suspect someone is performing unlicensed activity, enabling on-the-ground inspectors from the Division of Regulation to gather information from areas that may have limited accessibility. DBPR can be found on twitter at @FloridaDBPR and on Facebook under ‘Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’.
A criminal offense of unlicensed activity can result in misdemeanor or felony charges if an individual is convicted. Floridians should report any suspected unlicensed activity by emailing ULA@myfloridalicense.com or calling the Unlicensed Activity Hotline at 1-866-532-1440. Additionally, before you hire anyone to perform services that require a license, be sure to verify their professional license online at www.myfloridalicense.com or call (850)487-1395.
DBPR urges consumers to follow these tips when hiring with a construction contractor:
- Verify professional licenses of the individual(s) involved in providing the services for repairs. Tell the contractor that you will verify their license. You can do so online at www.MyFloridaLicense.com or by calling (850)487-1395.
- On any construction or repair job, don’t pay more than 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is less, until the job is complete.
- Always get a second opinion. For best judgment, obtain three estimates from different individuals.
- Always check references.
- Only agree to a written contract.
- Beware of scams when individuals ask for all the money up front, will only accept cash or solicit door-to-door.
- Do not sign a certificate of completion until you are satisfied with the work completed.
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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.