Home renovations can get expensive. That’s why Carlos and Gladys Estape thought they were getting a good deal on a new driveway when a local company offered them a reasonable price.
The family paid Guimor Constructions nearly $6,000 to resurface the driveway.
The first time the project was done, the couple says it looked great until they drove on it.
“My car went in and when I stopped all tires were marked but like this deep into the material,” said Carlos, explaining that his tires sank into the new driveway.
So, they had the company back out to fix it.
But say they started having problems soon after it was done the second time.
“This is terrible,” said Gladys, complaining about her new driveway that is cracking and chipping.
She showed how she could chip off pieces of her driveway with her fingernails.
They say they called Guimor Constructions to report what was going wrong, but stopped hearing back.
“Worst of all they won’t answer the phone anymore,” said Carlos.
Gladys found the company on-line and liked what she saw.
When the couple first hired the company, they liked positive reviews they found for the company, as well as the contract and 10-year warranty the company offered.
A promotional video that appeared on the company’s Facebook page appears to show the company working on other flooring projects.
They assumed a company like that had to be licensed—that turned out to be an expensive assumption.
After the couple called NBC 6 Responds, we tried reaching Guillermo Moros Ramirez, who is listed as the president of the company, but never heard back.
We found the company is registered as a business with the state. But Miami-Dade County’s Contractor Investigation Section says the contractor was not licensed to do the work. That also means there was no permit filed for the project.
“The only person that can get a permit is a licensed contractor or an owner as an owner-builder,” said Daniel Vuelta, the supervisor for Miami-Dade’s Contractor Investigations Section.
Vuelta says you can search online or call his office to verify if a contractor has a license or find out if there are complaints. Hiring a licensed contractor provides homeowners more protection if the work is done poorly.
“If within that project the contractor does something incorrectly, then contractor has to finish it," Vuelta said. "It’s not the homeowner’s responsibility to do it.”
The Estape family filed a complaint with the county.
Vuelta’s office is still investigating their complaint, but said if the company doesn’t refund the couple’s money, they will send this case to the state attorney’s office for possible charges.
A sign that you could be dealing with an unlicensed contractor: they ask you to pull a permit for a job and they only want to be paid in cash.
You can check if a contractor is licensed with the state by clicking here.
In Miami-Dade County, click here to search.
If you find a contractor’s name listed on either of these sites make sure that contractor has a license number listed. Unlicensed contractors might appear on the sites. They are only licensed if they have a license number.