Attorney General Warns Homeowners of Asphalt Scams Statewide
The Washington State Attorney General's Office wants to warn consumers of asphalt scamming companies. Scammers usually prey on people who have gravel driveways but everyone should be alert.
Here's How it works:
After an unexpected knock on the door, a salesman announces he has some extra asphalt in his truck from a previously finished job in the neighborhood and willing to pave your driveway at a price that seems way too good to be true.
Here are some additional warning signs to look out for regarding asphalt scams:
- Selling door-to-door. Reputable asphalt contractors will rarely if ever, sell their product door-to-door.
- Claiming they have leftover asphalt from another job. Professional asphalt contractors 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. Trustworthy contractors provide a written estimate that will be valid for days or weeks. Never hire someone on the spot. Ask for references and check them.
- No contract offered. Insist on a written contract specifying in detail the work to be performed and the agreed total price, not just price per square foot.
- Cash-only sales. Most reputable contractors take checks or credit cards and don't require 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.
- Unmarked truck. 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.
Remember to work with a contractor that is reputable and trustworthy and if asphalt scammers try to fool you, be sure to report it to the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org as well as the Washington State Attorney General's Office at www.atg.wa.gov.
Here's a recent post from a homeowner in Wenatchee:
Last Monday, Sept 16 myself & 3 neighbors were victims of a paving scam. United Paving said they're from Moses Lake, but that address belongs to an RV resort. The Spokane address on our invoices is not a valid address, according to both the Better Business Bureau & Dept. of Revenue. They overcharged from estimates, didn't collect tax, required check or cash payments in full that night. Payable to William Gallagher, the contractor, not the business. They promised to come back the next morning to inspect & clean up. Instead, he was busy cashing our checks at the bank & never came back or called any of us. My driveway is destroyed! Finished above grade, covering up my sewer clean-out, filling in a nice asphalt birm for water flow, leaving buckets of excess rock in areas where the tar isn't covered. They used pea gravel! My house was the last one which they started as it got dark. They obviously couldn't see what a mess they made! Excess tar & gravel in lawn and no more clean bedding edges. Our police & sheriff's office don't get involved in these "civil matters".
Before I could have court papers served this week, they checked out of the Wenatchee motel the crew stayed in, leaving a $5,000 debt based on a credit card they canceled this week & lots of room damage. Apparently they are headed to Tri-Cities now. The City is concerned about the environmental impact of the tar that rain washed down our driveways & across residential sidewalks & the fact they had no business license to work here. Mine can't be fixed or repaired. It needs to be torn out & repaved. My estimate of $2,500 turned into $4,410. In total, we all paid them $15,000 for a day's work.