SCC Community Association offers Consumer Affairs assistance

BILL HODGES PHOTO
The SCC Community Association Consumer Affairs Committee regularly reviews vendor information and customer comments on performance. (From left: Jerry Gibson, Lorraine Matlack and Joe Elam)

By PHYLLIS HODGES

If you have a job to be done—say a bathroom or kitchen remodeled, or a tree removed, you ask your friends and neighbors for business recommendations. Right?  Sun City Center Community Association members have an additional resource.

They can go online to the Sun City Center website where about 350 vendors are listed, showing they are properly licensed and insured.  Or, they can go to the CA office at 1009 N. Pebble Beach Blvd. for the information. The website is www.suncitycenter.org; look under “Resources.”

To read comments about vendors, you must go to the CA office. The information is available to CA members, those with CA privileges and Freedom Plaza residents.

“We have on average six to seven people come in to look at the Consumer Affairs binder,” said Joe Elam, a CA director and committee chairman for this service. He and the two other committee members, Jerry Gibson and Lorraine Matlack, take their responsibility seriously. “We encourage feedback about performance of vendors—good or bad—on a comment form available in the office. In my three years chairing the committee, I’ve observed that people are more likely to complain than take the time to give credit for a job well done. Just a simple ‘Great job!’ would help other homeowners decide who to select,” he said.

The Consumer Affairs Committee meets regularly to review applicants and comments. “We remove about three (vendors) a year due to complaints about performance,” said Elam.

Gibson, who is serving his first year on the CA board, is pleased to have been selected for this committee. “It is a tremendous help in finding reputable companies in the area and to read comments from their customers,” he said. The role of Matlack, who joined the CA administrative staff in September, is the office contact for members coming in to view the binders or to make a comment.

When negative comments are made, the committee contacts the business and requests a reply in writing. That way, both the customer’s comments and vendor’s response are available. So what happens if you are seriously “not happy” and wish to lodge a formal complaint? They can guide you through the process of reaching the right people, whether it is the sheriff’s office or Hillsborough County Consumer Affairs. The committee works with the county’s local office in Ruskin, which, when called, sends an investigator to Sun City Center to hear the complaint. Depending on the nature of the case, it may also be referred to the sheriff’s office or to the Seniors vs. Crime organization.

There is no fee to vendors for to be listed in the Consumer Affairs business directory, but they must renew their registration annually. Criteria for registration include proof of all appropriate licenses, $1 million general liability insurance and Workers Compensation (or exemption certificate).

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