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Consumer Alert: Asphalt Paving Scams

If your driveway or parking area is looking a little worn, or worse, you could be the target of criminals. That’s because summer is the time of year for asphalt scammers. These are dishonest individuals who knock on doors claiming to represent a  professional asphalt paving company or out of work contractor. While they may offer a paving job for cheap, what’s likely to happen is either a poorly done job, or no work done at all. Elderly homeowners are particularly vulnerable to these schemes, but any trusting person can fall victim. Be on your guard against hiring someone to do work on your property without background checking them first. Here are some common asphalt paving scams making the rounds.

The Extra Asphalt Scheme

Imagine this scenario: you’re sitting at home one afternoon when a worker knocks at your door. He tells you that he is working on another home in the neighborhood, has extra asphalt from the project and can give you a great deal on repaving your driveway.  Before you say yes, ask to see some credentials. Chances are, the so-called contractor will run for the hills. Legitimate contractors very rarely  solicit work door-to-door. Furthermore, most have plenty of uses for any “extra” asphalt they have, so there’s no reason for them to be peddling it to you. What you’re likely dealing with is a skilled scammer. This person may have come across some asphalt cheaply and is trying to make some money from it, regardless of whether he has the skills to do so. The asphalt may even have been stolen.

Asphalt scammers are smart and will often get the names of nearby homeowners who have recently had work done on their properties in order to win your trust. Don’t let them reel you in! Either they will take your money upfront and never be heard from again, or they will do the work poorly. Or they may quote you one price and then demand a much higher sum once the work is done.

The “Limited Time Offer” Scam

In another common scenario, a “contractor” offers you a great price on a repaving job, but requires payment in full, upfront. The scammer will use very high pressure sales techniques, calling it a “one time offer.” Remember, though, that legitimate contractors are in no hurry to take your money. They will provide you with an upfront estimate, including the number of months or years that the estimate is good for.

These are just two common scams in the asphalt paving world. There are many others. To protect yourself and your property, always research a contractor before doing business, and never allow work to commence on your property without having a fully signed contract in hand.

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