The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Partners with Alachua County Sheriff's Office and Lake City Police Department to Arrest Unlicensed Contractors
October 10, 2008
At a press conference today, officials from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, and the Lake City Police Department announced that 24 individuals were arrested for unlicensed contracting. Thirteen arrests and four warrants were issued in connection with the Lake City operation, while 11 arrests and four warrants were issued in Alachua County. Today concludes a two-week sting operation lead by the three agencies. This operation was targeted to identify and arrest unlicensed contractors by using a decoy house and obtaining estimates for work that requires a state license.
“This collaboration among three agencies demonstrates the commitment on the state and local level to protecting Floridians from unlicensed contractors,” said Secretary Charles W. Drago. “I would like to thank the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and the Lake City Police Department for partnering with us on an issue we take very seriously.”
Unlicensed contracting threatens the financial and personal safety of consumers, as well as the livelihood of licensed contractors. Through enforcement and education efforts, the Department works to deter and eliminate this dangerous activity. There are measures consumers can take to protect themselves. When hiring a contractor, consumers should:
- Always ask to see the contractor’s 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 MyFloridaLicense.com.
- Get a Release of Lien covering all workers and materials. This removes your property from the threat of lien.
- Ask any potential contractor for references and check each one.
- Beware of scams when contractors ask for all the money up front or will only accept cash.
- Beware of contractors who arrive in unmarked vehicles, possibly from out-of-state.
- 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.
- Request from the contractor, via registered or certified mail, a list of all subcontractors and suppliers who have a contract with the contractor to provide services or materials.
- Don’t sign the certificate of completion until you are satisfied with the work done.
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 www.MyFloridaLicense.com.