Better Business Bureau® of Minnesota and North Dakota is warning consumers of a seasonal scam that involves asphalt paving schemes.
These suspect asphalt companies often place ads or go door-to-door claiming to have extra asphalt from a nearby project, allowing them to give you a discounted rate. Unfortunately, these jobs usually end in sub-par work that costs much more than originally quoted.
A woman from Grand Rapids, lost $50,000 to one of these sub-par asphalt companies. The company first advertised in a local newspaper, calling themselves Convenient Paving, but the following year, a company with the same phone number advertised as Convenience Driveways. The woman contacted the company for a quote and was told they had extra materials and could do the job right away.
Despite the driveway having a three-year warranty, the woman reported to BBB that grass was growing through the asphalt within two weeks of the job being done. After following up with the company, a representative agreed the driveway needed to be fixed and said he would be in contact to schedule a day and time. The woman followed up with several phone calls but never heard from the company again, she told BBB.
"I told him I paid him too much and that this was not acceptable," she said. "I questioned their credibility and other issues."
To avoid being tricked by asphalt schemes, research the company at bbb.org. Ask the salesperson if they have a solicitor's license from the city in which they're doing business, or call city officials directly to ask if they've received any complaints about a certain business.
It doesn't hurt to follow these general rules to avoid an unethical asphalt company:
• Be wary of paving companies stating they are "in the neighborhood" and have extra asphalt at the ready 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. They will rarely have leftover materials.
• Never hire someone on the spot. Trustworthy contractors provide a written estimate that will be valid for many days. If you feel that you are being subjected to high-pressure sales tactics, BBB advises you to end the conversation and tell the company you're not interested.
• If the quoted price seems very low, chances are the quality of work will be quite low.
• Get at least two estimates before hiring anyone.
• Don't pay with cash. Credit cards are always best as there are options for recovering your lost funds.
Consumers are often safer dealing with a local contractor. Contact BBB for free Business Profiles on any company you are considering doing business with by visiting bbb.org, or by calling toll-free in Minnesota and North Dakota at 1-800-646-6222.
If you have been scammed, you can help other consumers avoid the same problems by reporting your experience to BBB's Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.