David R. Henderson  

Government Protects People from Preying Contractors

Law and Order's Economics... Wisdom Worth Repeating...

The Broward Sherriff's Office is engaging in entrapment operations to catch unlicensed contractors. On this tape, at about the minus 1:45 point, Detective Daniel Belyeu explains that right now many people are desperate for work. His solution? Make them more desperate.

H/T to William Grigg.

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CATEGORIES: Regulation

COMMENTS (7 to date)
Nick writes:

If they are claiming they are licensed then it is fraud and they should be arrested.

Otherwise it is a silly waste of money as most home-owners realize the risks of hiring workers who aren't licensed and insured. Specifically invalidating homeowners insurance policies and problems you will encounter when trying to sell the property with repairs made w/out proper permits.

Nick writes:

Oh BTW this is a sting it is not even remotely entrapment.

Steve writes:

Nick, can you elaborate on the risks you find so dire? Licensure does nothing to guarantee quality work, all it guarantees is a constrained market for professional services that benefits primarily the tradespeople, by limiting competition, not the consumer. I live in a licensing riddled state, and I can attest first hand to the absurdity of it. Better yet, can you make a moral case why anyone who endeavors to offer needed services to willing customers should be subject to violence, such as these people were, for so doing?

With pliant tools of authoritarianism like yourself enfranchised to pull levers in a voting booth, I fear we're all doomed.

JPIrving writes:

Entrapment or not, it is astounding that the police have the extra man power to waste tormenting people who are looking for WORK. You can tell from the video that most of them feel like they are on one of the cop shows. They look like mustached children.

Nick writes:


1. You didnt read my comment if the people were saying they were licensed and were not...THIS IS FRAUD which is a crime. I think only anarchists would not agree a society should have laws against fraud and enforce these laws.

2. By all means hire an unlicensed contractor. If they screw up your electrical wiring and your house burns down your insurance company will not pay. Same thing if your roof blows away in a hurricane. I understand that it does not guarantee proper work but it does create some basis to allow insurance underwriting since things can conform to some minimum standards of building and materials. Please explain how an insurance company should underwrite a policy where anyone can just do whatever they want with wiring and building materials and call it a house. I believe there may also be language in your mortgage preventing use of unlicensed contractors.

I think most people are aware licensure increases rents however I dont believe you will find many who do not agree that there is in many cases a trade-off between licensure and cost.

As I said in my original post i believe it should be legal to hire an unlicensed contractor (or at least decriminalized) as long as they do not misrepresent themselves as being licensed.

Additionally one must be aware if the contractor is uninsured you are liable if they fall off the roof or what ever.

Nick writes:

sorry in my above post the line
" I dont believe you will find many who do not agree that there is in many cases a trade-off between licensure and cost. "

should read

I dont believe you will find many who do not agree that there is in many cases an ACCEPTABLE trade-off between licensure and cost.

Greg writes:

Something to ponder...

I left the military once for about 3 months before I was recalled to serve again.

During those 3 months I worked as a consultant for an engineering firm. I was required to get a General Contractor license from the state of Florida. There was a retired Navy guy who worked with me and he was trying to take the same test from the state. He had taken it 6 times and failed. He knew more about structures than I could ever learn, but he could not pass this state test.

I took the test once and passed it, and earned my license.

My point: a piece of paper from any government is just that, a piece of paper.

Nick, I do see your point that maybe it should be decriminalized, and people who misrepresent should be held responsible.

I personally ask for proof of insurance and license when I have someone work on my home, just to cover my rear. However, I would love to be able to hire the old guy down the street to do some work. He knows what he is doing, and he needs the money. It’s unfortunate that he actually does not realize that he is thinking on the margin by not getting a license. The taxes, fees, and insurance are just not worth it to him.

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