Sheriff Patrick Ray is warning consumers of driveway paving scam artists who typically emerge during this time of year.
Asphalt scammers travel door-to-door, offering deals on leftover asphalt from nearby projects. However, according to authorities, the quality of work is poor, the final cost is higher than the quoted price and the pavers often leave before finishing the job.
If you should be approached by a so-called contractor to pave or reseal your driveway or to do some painting or other home improvement project, always research and vet businesses thoroughly before investing in their services.
“We’re starting to get some calls here at the Sheriff’s Office where contractors are contacting homeowners seeking to do paving jobs here in the county or resealing driveways. Make sure you know who you are signing a contract with and make sure they are a credible business. You can also go to the Better Business Bureau website to see if any complaints have been filed against your contractor and if he or she has an accredited business,” said Sheriff Ray.
“Most of what we see come through are signed contracts with small print on the bottom of them that excludes some things that the homeowner thinks they are getting. That makes it a civil rather than a criminal action. If you have problems with someone who has done work for you, maybe the work was not satisfactory or they didn’t do what the contract said then you may call me at the Sheriff’s Office at 615-597-4935,” added Sheriff Ray.
The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance has released a list of red flags that may allow consumers to identify asphalt scam artists:
Reputable asphalt contractors don't sell their product door-to-door.
Professional asphalt contractors rarely have leftover material, as they can accurately estimate how much material is needed for a job.
Trustworthy contractors will not push consumers to hire them on the spot. Rather, they will provide a written estimate that details the work to be done and the total price. These written contracts are valid for a specified length of time.
Most reputable contractors accept checks or credit cards and don't only take cash as payment.
If the quoted price is low, the quality of work is likely to be low as well.
Scammers often drive unmarked trucks or have out-of-state license plates. Recently, they have been purchasing local cellphone plans to appear as if they are local businesses. Briefly researching the business is likely to reveal the truth.