Consumer Tips for
Natural Disaster

Report Gouging

  • It’s illegal to raise prices during a state declared emergency.
  • Gougers face fines up to 25 thousand dollars a day.
  • Call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) to report violators.

Home Contractors to Avoid

  • Solicit door to door.
  • No permanent address.
  • Drive unmarked vehicles.
  • From out of town.

Repairs Done Right

  • Check the contractor’s address, license, complaints, and customer references.
  • Get at least three itemized estimates and a written contract.
  • Understand Florida’s Construction Lien Law to pay only once.
  • Know what you pay to cancel a contract.
  • Pay for completed work only.
  • Check for all required permits.

Home Repair Help

  • Orange County Consumer Fraud Unit at (407) 836-2490.
  • Orange County Building Department at (407) 836-5550.
  • Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation at (407) 487-1395.
  • Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).

Have Money On Hand

  • Have cash for at least one week.
  • Make a list of creditors to call if you can’t pay on time.
  • Stay away from guaranteed loans and shop for best deal.

Help With Money

  • 1-800-388-2227 for help negotiating with creditors.
  • 1-800-342-2762 to check on finance companies.

If You Need To Move

  • Notify your landlord in person or by certified mail.
  • Describe the condition of the home, with pictures.
  • Include a mailing address for your security deposit.
  • Keep copies of all documents.

Collect Your Security Deposit

  • Deposits must be returned with interest within 15 days.
  • Landlords can keep your deposit up to 30 days with notice by certified mail.
  • Go to small claims court, if needed to recover your deposit.

Living In A Damaged Home

  • Pay rent only for the part of your home that’s still livable.
  • Let your property owner know about the problems by certified mail or hand delivered.
  • Request specific repair deadlines.
  • Let your landlord know early on if you can’t pay rent on time.

Make Your Gift Count

  • Say no to pressure tactics.
  • Check state registration and any complaints.
  • Contribute only by check payable directly to the organization.
  • Verify tax deductions with the IRS.
  • Beware of similar names and make sure you give to the right organization.

Call the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) for help and complaints.

Contact Us

Orange County Consumer Protection
2450 33rd Street, 2nd Floor
Orlando, FL 32839

Phone: (407) 836-4237/4267
Fax: (407) 836-4233

All e-mail sent to this address becomes part of Orange County public record. Comments received by our e-mail subsystem can be read by anyone who requests that privilege. In compliance with "Government in the Sunshine" laws, Orange County Government must make available, at request, any and all information not deemed a threat to the security of law enforcement agencies and personnel.