Beware of Summer Paving Scams
As the weather gets warmer and the asphalt paving season begins, consumers are warned to be extremely cautious when selecting a contractor to pave a driveway or parking lot. Each paving season, bands of con artists travel through the region to scam unsuspecting homeowners and business people. They often target senior citizens.
This is a reminder for consumers to be vigilant and to take note of some of the asphalt paving scam warning signs:
Selling door-to-door: Reputable asphalt contractors will rarely, if ever, sell their product door-to-door. In Alberta this would also require a Direct Sellers License (from the Government of Alberta) and possibly a Prepaid Contractors License (also from the Government of Alberta) if they are asking for any amount of payment before the job is 100% complete.
Claiming they have leftover asphalt from another job: Professional asphalt contractors will know, with great accuracy, how much paving material is needed to complete a project. Rarely will they have leftover material.
Push you to make a quick decision: Reputable contractors will provide a written estimate that will be valid for days or weeks. If the great deal they are offering you today is not available tomorrow or next week, it is probably a scam. Never hire someone on the spot. Ask for references, then check them
No contract offered: Insist on a written contract specifying in detail the work to be performed and the agreed total price – not the price per square foot. Chances are unless you measured the area to be paved, you do not know what the total cost will be.
Cash-only sales: Most reputable contractors take checks or credit cards and don’t require or accept 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. In fact often the prices given are stated to be cheaper then normal when they are actually more expensive.
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.
Professionally done asphalt paving will last for many years, and most reputable contractors will stand behind their work. They will also know whether or not a permit could be required before work begins.
Know whom you are doing business with, check with your BBB.