Beware of Paving Scams

  
     
January 19, 2017

With the cold winter weather experienced in our northern states, our area seems to be seeing a higher than usual number of out of state paving crews going door to door. We always tend to see these crews as the weather begins to warm but our local paving companies and consumers are reporting more traveling paving crews offering “too good to be true” deals on driveway repairs than in past years. While driveway repair scams are fairly common, there is never a shortage of victims that get taken; from the consumer who pays for an inferior job to the local paving company losing out on local business. The Better Business Bureau wants you to know how you can avoid paving scams.

Usually the setup involves a less-than-trustworthy sales representative visiting your home claiming they have leftover materials from a previous paving job. They are looking for homes with cracked driveways and say they can take care of your driveway for a very large discount over the normal price. The catch is that you have to pay upfront. From there, consumers have complained to the BBB about multiple issues.

Since the representative is using leftover materials, the quality of work is poor because there is normally not enough asphalt to adequately cover the area. This causes uneven spreading and thin layers which increases the risk of cracking or crumbling of the consumer's driveway. The other issue consumers complain about is that the representative begins work, only to find out there is not enough asphalt to complete the job that same day. He or she will apologize and promise to return the next day to finish. Consumers report the representatives never come back and the consumer is left with an unfinished driveway and less money in their bank account.  If they do return, the price to finish will be significantly increased.

Often, consumers do not have a way to contact the representative or the company they work for because they were never given a business card, they only have a cell number (that no longer works) and they don't have an agreement in writing. To make sure this does not happen to you, here are a few red flags that you can look for in a driveway repair scam:

  • There are leftover materials from another job. Professional asphalt contractors know, with great accuracy, how much paving material is needed to complete each project. Rarely will they have large quantities of leftover material.
  • You are pushed to make a quick decision. Trustworthy contractors will provide a written estimate that will be valid for days or even weeks. It should specify in detail the work to be performed and the total price. They also don’t mind you checking them out before signing a contract.
  • Cash-only sales. Most reputable contractors will take checks or credit cards and don’t require payment up front.  BBB recommends never paying more than 1/3 up front, and only with a written contract.
  • The company is from out of state. Look at the truck the representative travels in. If it is unmarked or has an out-of-state license plate, be cautious. Even if the representative claims to have a local phone number, scammers can easily purchase disposable cell phones to provide a local number in the area they are soliciting.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask to see their driver’s license.  If the worker is from out of state, how likely are they to come back if a problem arises in the future?

If you suspect that you are dealing with a paving scammer, report them to your local police department and the BBB. For more tips you can trust, visit bbb.org.