Shady contractors ready to pounce after storm, so is Tampa Bay area law enforcement

(WFLA) – Law enforcement agencies across the Tampa Bay region are on the lookout for unlicensed contractors who will soon move in to prey on storm victims. Pinellas County will soon mobilize a strike force ready to pounce on storm predators. Unlicensed contracting is always a crime, but during the current state of emergency, it’s a felony. 

Robin Do tells 8 on Your Side she carefully screened a contractor before hiring a tree trimmer to remove the giant oak that fell on her Window Kote business in Largo.

“The first thing I asked, ‘do you have workmans comp?’ ‘Do you have insurance? You own a business you gotta have it,’” said Do.

The contractor she hired, Tyler Silverson, tells us consumers may think they’re getting a better deal with a cheaper price from fly-by-night contractors, but in the end, it can cost them a lot more.

“We’re here to fix the problem, not cause more problems,” Silverson said. “You can cause more damage by taking the tree out the proper way and not using the proper equipment.”

Cris Askley says a large oak crashed in her back yard, barley missing her house. Now, she’s trying to find a contractor to remove it and price quotes are all over the map.

“One guy that’s already come out today, he’s licensed, it was $2600. I’ve got another guy coming out first thing in the morning, he was $700,” Ashley said.,

Local authorities from St. Petersburg to Pasco tell us they haven’t fielded any complaints just yet about unlicensed contractors, but they are all warning citizens to be cautions before hiring anyone. Pasco County has a video on its Facebook page to help educate homeowners. 

8 on Your Side is on the hunt for shady contractors—and so is law enforcement.

If you see any working the neighborhoods, contact Mark Douglas at mdouglas@wfla.com and watch for our live report tonight at six.

Follow Mark Douglas on Facebook

STORIES OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s