Crackdown on unlicensed contractors - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Crackdown on unlicensed contractors

By Chuck Weber email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX)-State agents and Indian River County sheriff's deputies posed as homeowners, in a "sting" targeting unlicensed contractors. The effort netted two men, Robert Arias and Zachary Bakery. They're accused of trying to do electrical and air conditioning work without state licenses.

Agents say it's a growing problem in these tough times. Letting down your guard and hiring someone who's unlicensed could cost you.

"The work is normally, at the best, shoddy," observed Ed Garcia, a regional administrator with the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation, based in West Palm Beach, whose agents were involved in the Indian River County sting.

"They normally do not pull permits," said Garcia. "You don't even have the benefit of having a building inspector coming in, to make sure the work even meets the codes."

"We've run into the aftermath of unlicensed contractors," confirmed Jason Lovelady of Carpenter's Roofing in West Palm Beach. "I can probably count half a dozen roofs that we've had to tear off someone's brand new roof that should have lasted a customer 20-plus years, but wasn't done right."

The state advises you to always ask to see the contractor's state license. Note the license number. To verify the license is current and in good standing, go to MyFloridaLicense.com or call 850-487-1395.

Consumers should also ask for a contractor's references and check each one of them. Do not pay cash and be wary of writing checks payable to individuals, when they work for a company. And get everything in writing-- a detailed description of the work, completion date and total cost.

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