October 31st, 2020

Beware paving contractor scams


By Submitted Article on June 25, 2020.

SUBMITTED BY THE BETTER

BUSINESS BUREAU

A common scam that tends to surface during the warm days of summer is the driveway repair scam and the BBB wants you to know how you can avoid it. If you’re looking to have some paving work done this summer, BBB says it’s crucial to check out trustworthy paving contractors before handing over money.

How it works

Usually the setup involves a less-than-trustworthy contractor 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.

Consumers report the representatives never come back and the consumer is left with an unfinished driveway. 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 or don’t have an agreement in writing.

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 leftover material.

– You are pushed to make a quick decision. >Trustworthy contractors will provide a written estimate that will be valid for days or weeks. It should specify in detail the work to be performed and the total price.

– Cash-only sales. Most reputable contractors will take credit cards or other forms of payment. >Avoid making an upfront payment in cash; wherever possible use either cheque or credit card so there is evidence of the transaction. If a down payment is requested, negotiate with the contractor as to the percentage of the down payment relative to the overall quote. Contractors may legitimately request a down payment as a sign of good faith, to reserve the date and book workers and equipment, and to acquire materials. The down payment should never be the full value of the job.

– The company is from out of city/province. Look at the truck the representative travels in. If it is unmarked or has an out-of-province licence plate, be cautious. Even if the representative claims to have a local phone number, scammers can easily purchase disposable cellphones to provide a local number in the area they are soliciting.

Be sure to have a detailed written contract that specifies the total cost of the job including applicable taxes and terms of payment, including refunds should the job be cancelled. The contract should also include details of the project such as asphalt thickness, specs and area, warranty coverage and terms and conditions.

If you have spotted a scam, even if you have not lost any money, report it to >BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can prevent others from being victimized.

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