Buffalo, NY—Better Business Bureau serving Upstate New York is warning homeowners to use caution when hiring a paving contractor. BBB has heard from consumers in the Albany and Syracuse areas who gave money up front to a man going door to door offering to pave their driveways.
“The driveway paving scam is not new, but each year consumers are swindled out of unreasonable amounts of money. And, often times, the paving projects are unnecessary,” said Warren Clark, President of BBB serving Upstate New York. “In many cases, the paving company disappears and the consumer is not able to contact them to complain about the work. You can always check out paving companies at bbb.org to make an informed decision.”
BBB is advising consumers to beware of paving companies that knock on your door, saying they have leftover materials from another job and claim to offer bargain prices. Complaints about these companies primarily focus on shoddy quality of work.
The other issue consumers complain about is that the paver begins work, only to find out there is not enough materials to complete the job that same day. The paver will apologize and promise to return the next day to finish. Consumers report the pavers never come back and the consumer is left with an unfinished driveway and less money in their bank account.
Some signs of a paving scam may include:
Selling door-to-door. Reputable asphalt contractors will rarely, if ever, sell their product door-to-door.
Claiming they have leftover asphalt from another job. Professional asphalt contractors know, with great accuracy, how much paving material is needed to complete a project. Rarely will they have leftover material.
Push you to make a quick decision. Trustworthy contractors provide a written estimate that will be valid for days or weeks. Never hire someone on the spot. Ask for references and check them.
No contract offered. Insist on a written contract specifying in detail the work to be performed and the agreed total price, not just price per square foot.
Cash-only sales. Most reputable contractors take checks or credit cards and don't require cash-only terms.
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.
Out-of-state. Often the trucks they travel in are unmarked or they have an out-of-state license plate. Even if they claim to have a local phone number, scammers have more recently been purchasing disposable cell phone plans to provide a local number in the area they are soliciting. A little research will reveal that they have no permanent address and are not based locally.
BBB offers the following tips for hiring a paving contractor:
Check with BBB, first. Business Reviews are available at bbb.org. Also, verify that any contractor you are considering doing business with is properly licensed, bonded and insured and has the applicable license to do business in your municipality.
Get at least three bids. Take the time to review the bids and consider all aspects of the contract. A good deal involves a lot more than price. Get the details in writing.
Don’t fall for high pressure tactics. Watch out for: "this is the only chance you’ll have," or "by tomorrow the extra materials will be gone," or "I’m only in this area today." A legitimate company will be here when you're ready to buy and they will be more than willing to allow you time to check them out. If they don’t, let that be a warning sign.
Know who you are considering doing business with. Get the complete name and address of the company that the person says they represent.
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