How to Spot and Avoid Paving Scams
Posted 9/9/2013 by Kim Galovich
Each year, innocent consumers and businesses lose thousands of dollars to paving scams. This past summer, two men were arrested in Colorado for a driveway paying scam that cost one resident $50,000. The two men drove trucks with the name Asphalt Paving on the side and had plates registered in Montana. The men seemed to be targeting the elderly.
Company information given in suspected paving scam.
The duo went door to door telling residents that they had leftover asphalt from a previous job and offer to pave the driveway at a reduced price. The transactions were often rushed and verbal as no written documentation was provided. Once the job was halfway done, the men would tell the resident that more money would be required to finish the job. Once finished, the resident would end up paying astronomical prices for a sloppy paving job.
Since many paving companies are small and local, it can be difficult to differentiate between a legitimate company and a paving scam. Always make sure to get written documentation from a paving company and do your research. Use the Internet, yellow pages or ask around and find out what others have to say about the company.
The Better Business Bureau provides some ways to spot a scam. Here are some common signs that a “company” is actually a paving scam:
-They claim the company has 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.
Paving scams are illegal offenses and should be reported. Always do research before hiring a paving company to ensure the legitimacy of the company and the quality of the work. Online reviews and websites such as the Better Business Bureau are great resources for ensuring that you do not fall victim to paving scams.
Rabine Group provides paving maintenance and repair services throughout the United States and has an A+ Rating with BBB. For more information on reliable paving in your area, call (888) 722-4633 or visit http://www.RabineGroup.com/What-We-Do/Paving.aspx.