Recently our Sheriff warned of a pressure washing scam orchestrated by individuals who targeted subdivisions.
The three man crew consisting of two adults and a 16-year old kid were targeting senior communities. The individuals involved were not licensed, held no permits, nor did they have insurance for their “services.”
Florida has a home solicitation statute which requires a permit that is issued by the county’s Clerk of Court. The statutes address home solicitation and can be found under chapter 501 which range from (501.021-501.055). Not only does the chapter address the requirement of a permit for home solicitation, but the statue addresses exclusions to the rule, the duties of the business conducting the home solicitation, a buyer’s right to cancel, and penalties associated with violating the statute.
Permits are issued from the Clerk of Court after the person submits a Sales Permit Application. The application requires the individual seeking a permit to provide personal information along with their finger prints and photograph. A criminal background check is then conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the local Sheriff’s Office. The process may take up to 60 days to complete before a permit is issued. The Clerk of Court may also revoke, suspend, or deny the issuance of the permit if the individual has been:
Convicted of crimes in any jurisdiction that involves moral turpitude.
Fraudulent or dishonest dealing.
The illegal use or sale of a controlled substance.
Or any previous violation of the provisions found in ss. 501.021-501-055.
The leader of the crew soliciting pressure washing services in the community was later found and identified with having outstanding warrants and a lengthy criminal history. The permit requirement attempts to regulate and prevent individuals with criminal histories from having access to your home.
Criminals work in crews or pairs which make it difficult for the home owner to watch every person. One person may distract you while the other is stealing from another room of your home. Another recent incident of this type of theft occurred and is all too common of an occurrence. http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/56773519-story
According to the Clerk of Courts, there have only been 5 licenses issued by the Polk County Clerk of Court in 2017. In 2016 Polk County issued only 34 permits. According to the Clerks for Highlands and Hardee County, both offices have yet to issue their first home solicitation permit. In Polk County, the chance that the person soliciting services from you with an active or valid permit is very low. In Highlands and Hardee Counties, there is no chance that the person has a valid permit as of February 2017.
Please be weary of the individuals knocking at your door attempting to sell a product or offering unsolicited services. Ask to see their home solicitation permit. Verify their identity with photo identification which should be displayed on their permit. Do not give these individuals access to your home, especially to those not properly licensed. If you believe an individual working in your neighborhood is not properly licensed or may be violating this statute, please contact your local law enforcement agency and alert them to their presence.