(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 firstname.lastname@example.org and watch for our live report tonight at six.
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