It’s considered a major problem in South Florida – consumers hiring a contractor who isn’t licensed to do the work. Many projects at your home including simple ones like painting require a license.
One family thought they had chosen a licensed contractor when they hired Shalom Design and Landscape from Lake Worth to do landscaping at their home and retile their pool.
"He was very professional. He brought me samples,” said Elizabeth, an interior designer, about the company’s manager. She says she asked him if the company and its workers were licensed and he assured her they were.
Elizabeth says she was pleased with the landscaping work they did but says she wasn’t happy with the tile work on the pool.
“The tile was terrible. The installation wasn’t good,” Elizabeth said.
She says the manager of the company said that they would do the work again but the work was never finished so they asked for a refund.
"He gave me a personal check for $5,250," Elizabeth said.
But she said the check bounced. That’s when she discovered the company was not licensed and she found other complaints about the company. Not knowing what else she could do, she made a police report and contacted NBC 6 Responds.
After trying several times to contact Linda Perez, the owner of the company, by phone and through the company’s website, we went to the home at the address that appears in the company’s records on file with the state of Florida. A short time later, the Palm Springs police confirmed Elizabeth received the money from the company.
Elizabeth isn’t the only one to lodge a complaint about Shalom Design and Landscaping.
Debbie Telsey says that she paid the company $20,000 to renovate her patio but the work was not finished.
Two nurseries in Palm Beach County also told us the company gave them bad checks in 2016 for a total of almost $10,000. One nursery was able to recover some of their money using a program designed to fight bad checks. Every county has a bad check program.
Delroy Aiken is with the Contractor Licensing Enforcement Section of Broward County’s Building Code Services Division. He says he often hears from people who say they trusted what the contractor told them rather than verifying that the contractor has a license.
He says if they aren’t licensed, they can’t pull a permit. So, it can be a red flag if you are not asked to sign for a permit to be pulled.
“If you do that project, without a permit and you get caught by the building department, they’re going to cite you for it,” Aiken said. “You may have to start all over again.”