TAMPA - "He came right to the door, knocking door to door," said Rosa Limbo. The man who called himself a licensed contractor quoted a good price for a new unit. "I had estimates and he gave me the best one."
The undercover Tampa Police officer whose job includes busting unlicensed contractors says many of the victims he deals with get sucked in by the low price. "People are looking for the best price and the unlicensed contractor does not have that overhead and he can beat prices."
Tampa Police routinely sting and arrest unlicensed contractors as they did in April. But most agencies don't bother with what they consider a civil matter. "It is big business, and construction as you know is a big business."
Rosa realized she had hired an unlicensed contractor about the time her new air conditioning unit broke down. "I cried, I cried."
The signs of a typical scenario, according to the detective. "The unlicensed contractor takes the money and does not do anything, or there is something wrong with the work."
Checking the license of any contractor is as simple is making a single phone call to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation or visiting their website.
Rosa wishes she would have taken the time to do that beforehand. "I called the permit office, and they told me they had no such name."
If you want to check a contractor's license just go to myfloridalicense.com .