Hurricane Ian – Avoid Contractor Fraud
Hurricane Ian came through with a vengeance, creating devastation and destruction in our community.
With cleanup and recovery efforts underway, please keep in mind there will be an increasing number of dishonest contractors in the area looking to take advantage of vulnerable homeowners who are extremely eager to rebuild.
Unfortunately, natural disasters like Ian, attract fraudulent activity. Below are a few tips to follow to protect yourself when choosing a contractor.
Tips For Choosing The Right Contractor
-Ask for proof the contractor is licensed. All licensed contractors are required to have their license number on business cards, contracts, estimates, vehicles, etc. To verify licensure, visit Florida DBPR website. http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/
-Verify the contractor carries worker’s compensation and they are insured. This covers you if the contractor is injured on the job and/or additional damage occurs on your property.
-Verify they are bonded. Having a “bonded” contractor means you’ll be financially protected if they fail to complete the job, pay for permits, or pay their subcontractors and suppliers. To confirm they are bonded, ask for a bond number and certification.
-Verify the subcontracting companies are authorized to perform work under a licensed company/business.
-Check out recommendations from the Building Industry Association, trusted neighbors and friends.
-If you receive unsolicited phone calls or door-to-door visits, be very careful. Take your time and do your due diligence. Ask questions and verify the person is legitimate.
-Ensure any contract you sign is legal, detailing the work to be performed and the expected price to be paid. Contact your insurance company to determine their requirements.
-Do NOT pay the full price upfront; only pay a deposit for the work to be performed.
-Do NOT make final payment until work has been completed and inspected and you are fully satisfied.
-Always get receipts.
-Retain all copies of paperwork, contracts, agreements, receipts, and change orders.
-Do not pay cash. Use a form of payment that can be utilized as proof, i.e., checks, cashier’s checks, etc.
-Avoid signing an AOB (Assignment of Benefits). Contact your insurance representative for more information.
-Be sure you fully understand the documents you are signing and ask questions. For peace of mind, confirm with an attorney the documents are in your best interest.
-Verify the license of an adjuster or attorney through the Florida Department of Financial Services website, http://www.myfloridacfo.com
Contact Richardson Homes
Richardson Custom Homes has been doing business in SW Florida for nearly 35 years.
We are licensed with the state of Florida under these license numbers: CBC058637 and CGC024748. We also carry worker’s compensation, are insured and bonded.
We only work with trusted subcontractors who share the same values as us and are licensed and insured. Contact us to discuss your rebuild. 239-694 8889.
How To Report Fraudulent Activity
If you find instances of unlicensed contracting, price gouging, or other\ fraudulent practices related to rebuilding our community, contact the Cape Coral Police Department.
In Cape Coral, you can report an unlicensed contractor by calling 239-242 3783 or emailing Cape Coral Code compliance: email@example.com. Or call Cape Coral Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To report price gouging, contact the Florida Attorney General’s Price Gouging Hotline at 1-866-966-7226, or online, http://myfloridalegal.com
The Federal Communications Center (FCC) provides information on avoiding Disaster-Related Scams, which can be found at https://www.fcc.gov/sites/default/files/after_storms_watch_out_for_scams.pdf
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation issued an Emergency Order 2022-03, which waives the requirement for certified or registered, general, building, or residential contractors to subcontract roofing work for the repair or installation of any roof type in listed counties, including Lee County.
The DBPR website offers additional information related to Emergency Order 2022-03 and can be found at https://www.myfloridalicense.com