As cool spring nights fade into the dog days of summer, itinerant con-artists once again hit the road preying upon trusting homeowners who are looking for a home repair bargain.
Asphalt paving scams are nothing new, but the summer months mean the scam is back in full swing. If you have a blacktop driveway or are in need of a repair, don’t be surprised if you receive a knock at your door offering you a too good to be true deal on asphalt.
Often times a scam artist contractor will catch you off guard by soliciting you at your front door or catching you when you are outside in your yard. If this happens, the BBB serving Greater Iowa, Quad Cities and Siouxland Region wants you to be prepared by arming yourself with the knowledge on how to detect the warning signs of an asphalt paving scam.
Some warning signs may include:
- Selling door-to-door. Reputable asphalt contractors will rarely - if ever, sell their product door-to-door.
- Claims of 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.
- Pushing you to make a quick decision. Trustworthy contractors provide a written estimate that should be valid for a specified amount of time. Never hire someone on the spot.
- No written contract. 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.
- Contractor is from out of state or in an unmarked truck. Itinerant scammers will often drive unmarked trucks or have out of state license plates. Even if they have a local phone number, scammers have more recently been purchasing local cell phone plans to appear as if they are a local area business. A little research will reveal that they have no permanent address or are traveling from out of state.
Now that you are an expert at spotting an asphalt paving scam, use diligence when a friendly stranger comes knocking on your door. Report any scammers to your local police and contact the BBB. Also, watch out for elderly neighbors who are often targets for these traveling con-artists. As always, before starting your next major purchase or repair, check out companies and find reputable local businesses at www.iowa.bbb.org.
About the BBB. The BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB serving Greater Iowa, Quad Cities and Siouxland Region was founded in 1940 and is one of 116 BBBs. Locally, the BBB has over 3,000 Accredited Businesses and provides reports and on companies throughout the state. Contact the BBB at 1-800-BBB-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org