Warm weather is a sign of a couple of things to come. One, mild temperatures may unfortunately be gone for a few months, and two, summer scams may be around the corner. 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.
Usually the setup involves a less-than-trustworthy sales representative 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. From there, consumers have complained to the BBB about multiple issues.
Since the representative is using leftover materials, the quality of work is poor because there is normally not enough asphalt to adequately cover all the cracks. This causes uneven spreading, and a risk of further cracking of the consumer's driveway. The other issue consumers complain about is that the representative begins work, only to find out there is not enough asphalt to complete the job that same day. He or she will apologize and promise to return the next day to finish.
Consumers report the representatives never come back and the consumer is left with an unfinished driveway and less money in their bank account.
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, they only have a cell number (that no longer works) and they don't have an agreement in writing. To make sure this does not happen to you, 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 large quantities of 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. They also don’t mind you checking them out before signing a contract.
· Cash-only sales. Most reputable contractors will take checks or credit cards.
· The company is from out of state. Look at the truck the representative travels in. If it is unmarked or has an out-of-state license plate, be cautious. Even if the representative claims to have a local phone number, scammers can easily purchase disposable cell phones to provide a local number in the area they are soliciting. Also, don’t be afraid to ask to see their driver’s license.
If you suspect that you are dealing with a paving scammer, contact your local police department immediately and then contact the BBB.
For more tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org.
Kelvin Collins is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia & the CSRA, Inc. serving 41 counties in Central Georgia and the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). This tips column is provided through the local BBB and the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Questions or complaints about a specific company or charity should be referred directly to the BBB at Phone: 1-800-763-4222, Web site: www.bbb.org or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com