State: Craigslist plumber breaking the law

J&B Plumbing admits operating without license

OVIEDO, Fla. - The owner of a plumbing company in Oviedo has been operating without a license in Central Florida at least since 2011 and is now facing "escalated enforcement" by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, along with possible criminal charges and fines.

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The decision was prompted by an investigation by ClickOrlando.com and WKMG-TV.

J&B Plumbing, owned and operated by 30-year-old John Dattoma, has two ads on Craigslist, with one claiming to be licensed to install septic systems.

Laszlo Barzca of Seminole County admits he took Dattoma at his word and gave him a $4,000 deposit to install a new septic system for his home.

Dattoma started the work but according to Barzca after digging the trenches for the underground pipes and septic tank Dattoma and the crew never came back.

Dattoma claims he worked on the project for several weeks and only stopped because Barzca left on a two-week business trip and couldn't be reached.

When asked if he needed access to the home, Dattoma said, "No, but I wanted to make sure I would be paid and we didn't know where he was."

Dattoma left the rented backhoe in the yard for days.

The rental company, Best Rental of Altamonte Springs, retrieved the equipment but was never paid the $1,500 rental fee.

Owner John Smeenge said Dattoma never returned phone calls. He said it was like "he just disappeared."

Barzca said he had no plumbing at his home for eight weeks and ended up paying another $4,300 to another company to complete the project.

Dattoma admits he has worked without a license for 15 years and brings in a master plumber on bigger jobs.

In an email to Clickorlando.com and WKMG-TV, Dattoma said, "I don't go around conning people. I have hundreds of satisfied customers and a few that were not satisfied that doesn't make me a bad person."

He went on to say he will pay every one back.

There are dozens of complaints about J&B plumbing on Craigslist.

Andrea Bourgoin has filed civil action against him because he did not honor the agreement to complete a bathroom project. They are scheduled to be back in court later this month.

Remember, always check to see if a company is licensed, bonded and has recent references. DPBR has an app that allows you to check lincensure and complaints (see links above).

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