BBB warns local consumers to watch out for a paving contractor named Charles Boswell. that may be doing business in the Cincinnati and Dayton area under the names Busy Bee Paving, CB Asphalt & Concreting or JR Paving Company. According to information received at the Cincinnati BBB Boswell has been soliciting paving work door to door. Consumers tell us that once he was hired, he pressured consumers to pay for the work in full, but then left before the job was complete.
One elderly consumer in Anderson Township was so embarrassed by what happened to him that he almost didn’t want us to tell his story. Charles Boswell approached him while he was outside and asked to do his driveway. He agreed to the work and left to do some errands. When he came back to the house Boswell told him he owed a whopping $2200 for what should have been a simple $200 paving job. Intimidated by Boswell, he handed over a check. Boswell and his crew left shortly afterwards saying that they would come back to finish the job, but they never did.
The consumer is now in contact with the police to see if they can track down Boswell to either get him to return to finish the work or refund the money.
So far, BBB has been unable to locate Boswell. The business card and invoices do not provide any addresses for his businesses. The cell phone number he gives to his consumers goes to a full voicemail box that no longer accepts messages.
To avoid falling for asphalt scams, be sure you know who you’re dealing with. Research the business first at bbb.org. Also, watch for these common signs of an asphalt scam:
They claim to have leftover asphalt from another job. Be aware of paving companies that approach your home, stating that they are “in the area” and have extra asphalt or concrete to repair your driveway for a minimal cost. Professional asphalt contractors know, with great accuracy, how much paving material is needed to complete a project. Rarely will they have leftover material.
High pressure sales. Never hire someone on the spot. Trustworthy contractors provide a written estimate that will be valid for days or weeks. Ask for local references and verify that the contractor is in compliance, current and up-to-date with all local licensing, bonding and insuring requirements. If you feel that you are being subjected to high-pressure sales tactics, the BBB advises you to end the conversation and tell the company you’re not interested.
Deals that seem too good to be true. If the quoted price seems very low, chances are the quality of work will also be quite low. Many times the company will quote a low price for their work and upon completion overcharge the customer.
No contract is offered. Insist on a written estimate specifying in detail the work to be performed and the agreed total price, not just price per square foot. Then get at least two more quotes before hiring a contractor.
Cash-only sales. Most reputable contractors take checks or credit cards and don’t require cash-only terms and will not demand payment in advance.
Unmarked trucks. Often the trucks they travel in are unmarked or they have an out-of-town address and phone number. A little research will reveal that they have no permanent address and the phone number is often an answering machine or answering service.
Consumers are often safer dealing with a contractor who has roots in the community. The BBB advises homeowners to take the time to choose a contractor they can trust when looking to re-do their driveway, and provides the following tips:
Start With Trust! Always check out a contractor on bbb.org before doing business with them.
Check references. Ask for local references and verify that the contractor is in compliance with all local licensing, bonding and insuring requirements. Before you agree to a paving or paving repair job, there are three things to check: the status of the contractor’s license, whether the contractor’s bond is current, and the contractor’s complaint resolution history with the BBB. You may also want to make sure that the contracting company is a member of an industry trade association such as the National Asphalt Pavement Association.
Get it in writing. Be sure that the contract spells out which party is responsible for grading and sub-grading, equipment and materials, labor, pavement thickness and smoothness, etc. Make sure the payment schedule is satisfactory and that there is a clear guarantee or warranty for the work. Also, get an agreement in place – in writing – that your yard is to be returned to pre-construction condition. Don’t sign an agreement without understanding it.
Know your rights. Pay by check or credit card when the project is completed. Make sure to inspect the work for quality issues. If you are dealing with a traveling contractor, be extra cautious and make sure to ask for identification and note the license plate number on the contractor’s vehicle. Keep in mind also In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission has a three-day cooling off rule for in-home purchases.