How to Verify a Professional's License in Augusta-Richmond?
Before offering their services to residents of Augusta-Richmond, professionals are generally required to obtain the relevant professional license. The Professional Licensing Board Division (PLBD) of Georgia's Secretary of State's Office assists with the licensure of professionals in Augusta-Richmond through over 40 licensing boards. Each licensing board licenses a limited number of professions. For example, the State Construction Industry Licensing Board licenses plumbers, while the Georgia State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors licenses residential and general contractors. However, the PLBD collates a comprehensive database of licensed professionals across the state. Therefore, to verify a professional's license, you can use the PLBD online license search portal or contact the Division at (404) 424-9966.
Besides any licensing requirements, the city also requires some professionals to comply with certain conditions before offering specific services. For example, construction professionals must obtain the relevant building permit from the city's Department of Planning and Development (DPD) before undertaking any construction work. Queries regarding such permits can generally be directed to the DPD at (706) 312-5050.
Augusta-Richmond has ten districts, and every neighborhood in the city is under one of these districts. The City Mayor and district representatives constitute the Augusta Commission, which is in charge of the local governance of the city and overseeing the city's progress. You can find out which district your neighborhood is under and who your district representative is through the city's district map and the find your commissioner portal, respectively.
Generally, the Augusta Commission does not issue permits for home improvement and construction works. The city's DPD primarily handles such permit issuance. However, the Commission may develop policies, reach resolutions, or approve plans for the development and safety of the city, which may relate to construction. For example, in May 2021, the Commission approved various construction projects, including housing developments and the construction of a grocery store in different parts of the city. Also, in August 2021, the Commission approved a $100 incentive for any resident who gets an appropriate dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Residents of Augusta-Richmond that wish to file an unfair business complaint can contact the Augusta 311 Department. The 311 Department addresses inquiries regarding services offered by the city and generally redirects residents to the appropriate agency where necessary. You can contact the city's 311 Department by dialing 311 or calling (706) 821-2300. Residents can also file complaints regarding a business's unfair practices or a professional's unethical conduct with the Georgia State Consumer Protection Division. Complaints can be filed with this office online or by calling (404) 651-8600 or 1-800-869-1123. For business or professional practices that involve any illegality, you can file a separate report with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office at (706) 821-1000.
Note that filing a consumer complaint with the appropriate public agency does not entitle you to reimbursement for a business's or professional's practices or actions. Such filed complaints are usually investigated and addressed in the public's interest. If you intend to pursue your reimbursement, you should consider filing a civil claim against the professional at an appropriate court. Such civil claims are usually filed at the Augusta Magistrate Court, which has jurisdiction over civil claims not exceeding $15,000. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you hire a qualified attorney for legal advice on the right legal steps to take.