The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says one man even showed up to the job with cocaine in his shoe.
SUN CITY CENTER, Fla. — A 10-day sting led to the arrest of more than two dozen unlicensed contractors.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said undercover deputies posed as homeowners and met with people who advertised home improvement services online. The sheriff’s office said this led to the arrests of 27 unlicensed contractors.
The undercover operation took place in Sun City Center from Sept. 21 to Oct. 2.
The unlicensed contractors offered to replace or remodel bathrooms, doors, windows, and in a few cases, said they could pour concrete pads and sidewalks around the property, according to the sheriff’s office.
“When you hire a contractor, you expect professionalism and complete accountability. By hiring someone who does not have the proper credentials, you don’t know who you’re allowing into your home or the damage they could potentially cause to your property,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “During the ongoing pandemic, many people are in the house more often and looking for ways to fix up their homes. We urge homeowners to do their research before committing to an expensive service that requires professional training and experience.“
Out of the 27 people arrested, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said there was a high-risk sexual offender on felony probation and a man who showed up to work with cocaine.
Keith Andrew Hall, 49, offered to remodel a walk-in shower for $1,600, deputies said. Then, they discovered Hall was on GPS-monitored felony on GPS-monitored felony probation after being convicted of lewd and lascivious molestation on a victim 12 to 15 years of age, lewd and lascivious molestation on a victim less than 16 years of age, and promoting the sexual performance of a child.
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Although unlicensed HVAC contractors appear to work cheaper than a bonded, insured and licensed air conditioning companies, the long-term risks may not match the promise. The problems are simple yet complex. When homeowners hire HVAC service work from questionable contractors, the typically final experience may end up like this:
- Inferior workmanship resulting in shoddy equipment performance
- Incomplete or downright deceitful troubleshooting reports
- Unreliable A/C services, including substandard A/C installation
- Unexpected cost increases or poor long-term HVAC equipment reliability
- AND more.
TIP! Before hiring for A/C install or A/C services in your home, ask the contractor for proof of insurance. Even licensed HVAC pros can make a mistake. But consider the damage an uninsured electrical error can do to your home.
Dealing with untrained back-door cooling and heating service techs may seem like a slick way to save on upfront money, but in a heartbeat such preconceived out-of-pocket savings can explode into a massive financial nightmare. Air conditioning technicians, so-called, who work outside the law also tend to ignore HVAC industry-accepted service and installation regulations. According to ACCA senior vice president of government relations, Charlie McCrudden, such individuals “… take advantage of lax enforcement of permitting rules, licensing requirements, and the Clean Air Act.” Furthermore, Mr. McCrudden says that the government is currently unable to track or control the problem. Too many individuals, McCrudden says, “… are posing as professional HVAC technicians.”
TIP! Get multiple bids before deciding on which HVAC company will install or repair your heating and cooling equipment. Most homeowners know better than jumping on the highest bid, but you should also be wary of any super-low bits.
Choose Reputation Over Low-price Unlicensed HVAC Contractors
In the air conditioning industry, a good reputation is paramount to the word-of-mouth advertising, and word-of-mouth advertising is the core of established customer … Continue Reading