The Department of Business and Professional Regulation Protects Consumers with Statewide Unlicensed Activity Operation
March 5, 2010
TALLAHASSEE—From Pensacola to Miami and Jacksonville to Ft. Myers, this week Department of Business and Professional Regulation investigators swept the state for unlicensed activity. Sweep operations were held throughout Florida to protect consumers from the personal and financial harm that can result from hiring unlicensed individuals. DBPR conducted 21 sweeps in eight professions and checked 443 licenses at 241 locations. DBPR issued 24 citations, 16 cease and desist notices, and opened 35 cases related to unlicensed activity. A sweep involves checking licenses to ensure compliance with state laws.
“Statewide sweep operations are an effective enforcement tool and a great way to remind consumers to hire licensed professionals,” said Interim Secretary Charlie Liem. “With educated consumers as our partners, we can fight unlicensed activity and protect the public.”
This quarter, department investigators focused on low voltage electrical contracting based on tips Interim Secretary Liem received during “On the Road 2 Better Business, Part 2.” A Limited Energy Systems Specialty Contractor’s license is required to do low voltage electrical work, such as the installation of home theater and surround sound systems, wired computer networks, closed circuit televisions, electric locks and central vacuums. Investigators also checked community association manager firm licenses to ensure compliance with a law enacted in 2009 that requires CAM businesses to be licensed.
Unlicensed activity threatens the financial and personal safety of consumers, leaving them with little to no recourse. State-licensed professionals are also impacted by unlicensed activity. Unlicensed individuals often underbid licensed professionals, but they usually do not carry workers’ compensation or liability insurance, posing an increased threat to consumers and cutting out licensed professionals.
The department uses a variety of tools to help eliminate the practice of unlicensed activity. Pre-announcing the enforcement efforts provides an opportunity to educate consumers and prevent unlicensed activity before it occurs. Partnerships are also an important element in the fight against unlicensed activity. Industry partners, as well as other agencies, including local law enforcement, provide vital support during these operations.
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.