TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - State agencies and home builder groups are all warning Floridians hit by Hurricane Michael to be very careful when selecting someone to do home repair work.
All construction contractors working in Florida are required to be registered with the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
However, unlicensed contractors and scam artists often attempt to take advantage of consumers following a disaster.
Many crooked contractors have little to no insurance and will ask for payment up front and pressure homeowners into quickly signing a contract on the spot.
Florida Home Builders Association CEO, Rusty Payton, said the volume of repair work that needs to be done in the Panhandle means that property owners need to be extra certain that they are hiring a licensed contractor.
He said repair companies who are pushy or give quotes that seem too good to be true may be a warning sign that you need to look elsewhere.
“All too often, what happens is people will say ‘oh, this is a cheaper alternative’. But, that alternative often comes at a risk," said Payton. "If they are not licensed, you cannot go after them.”
According to Payton, there are roughly 80,000 licensed contractors in the state of Florida, including 5,600 based in the Big Bend and Panhandle regions, which were most affected by Hurricane Michael.
Consumers should always read any paperwork they are signing before repairs begin, and potential fraud can be reported by calling the state’s anti-fraud hotline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO. To check the license of any contractor, visit www.MyFloridaLicense.com.