How to find out if your contractor is licensed to protect yourself from scams

Posted at 11:47 AM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-27 11:49:48-04

Three months, that's how long Claudette Durr lived with no kitchen.

A friend recommended Raul GonzalezRamos. Claudette hired him to remodel her kitchen and three bathrooms.

She paid $18,000 dollars up front. GonzalezRamos installed new floors, painted the walls and gutted her kitchen then he stopped work.

We did some digging and found that GonzalezRamos is not a licensed contractor, what he does have is a criminal record. According to the Department of Corrections, he was convicted of grand theft in 2016.

We put Durr in touch with the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office. The agency confirmed they've opened a criminal investigation into what happened in her home.

Durr, a registered nurse, said she had no choice but to hire a 2nd contractor and spent thousands of dollars more to get her kitchen in place.

Checking a contractor’s state license and complaint history is as simple as going to

Durr shed tears of anger and embarrassment during our meeting. She told me if her story spares another homeowner the same heartache, it will have been worth sharing what happened to her.