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Florida family says it was victimized by unscrupulous contractor

A Pinellas County man said his family has been victimized by a loophole in Florida law that allowed them to hire an allegedly unscrupulous and unlicensed contractor.

The man said he hired a contractor who presented a business card that included a state license number. The number belonged to a legitimate company, which is an umbrella company that allows other people to work under its "umbrella" license with proper supervision.

So, the contractor hired by the company wasn't licensed himself and presented the license of the legitimate company. The only problem is the contractor got his hands on the license number but wasn't being supervised by the company. In fact, company officials said they never heard of him.

The family is suing the legitimate company for incomplete work. The electrical panel, for instance, was left in only a half-operational state, the homeowner said. The lawsuit also contends that the contractor didn't pay subcontractors, despite being paid in cash by the homeowner, and also didn't file required permits or return calls.

A representative of the company told ABC Action News in Tampa in a statement that he had never heard of the contractor, adding, "We will vigorously defend these false allegations in court."

The homeowner said he wish he had done a better job in checking into the contractor.

If you're considering completing a home project – big or small – in 2020, it would be wise to ask friends for referrals and when you select a contractor, verify the license and visit a company's office to make sure it is legitimate. If not, you could find yourself in a legal bind like this unfortunate family.

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