Department of Business and Professional Regulation Harnesses the Power of Craigslist to Combat Unlicensed Activity
April 13, 2010
TALLAHASSEE—With more than 20 billion page views per month, Craigslist.org is one of the top local classified advertisement forums in the country. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation is harnessing the power the popular Web site to protect consumers and educate unlicensed individuals about unlicensed activity. Department investigators are using the site to post educational information for consumers and to warn to unlicensed individuals.
“Floridians regularly use Craigslist.org to search for goods and services,” said Interim Secretary Charlie Liem. “By posting on the Web site, we can help consumers protect themselves.”
While many state-licensed professionals use Criagslist.org, some individuals who use the site are not licensed. DBPR’s posts on Craigslist.org encourage consumers to verify licenses online, provide lists of DBPR-licensed professions, direct consumers to licensing laws, and warn unlicensed individuals that they may be operating illegally.
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. 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.
- Report suspected unlicensed activity at 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.