The Department of Business and Professional Regulation Protects Consumers with Statewide Unlicensed Activity Operation
November 6, 2009
TALLAHASSEE—Today, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation concluded 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 232 worksites and check a total of 832 working individuals and businesses for state-required licensure. DBPR and partners issued 67 citations, 60 cease and desists, and made 51 arrests.
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.
“Through statewide enforcement efforts, the department works to catch unlicensed individuals before they cause harm to consumers,” said Secretary Charles W. Drago. “Department investigators also use the statewide operation as an opportunity to follow-up on consumer complaints and catch unlicensed individuals who have already caused personal or financial harm.”
Hiring an unlicensed individual 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.
Here are some tips to help consumers protect themselves against 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 or visit www.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.
- Report suspected unlicensed activity at www.myfloridalicense.com or toll-free at 1-866-532-1440.
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.