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How to avoid being scammed by a fake paving company

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Many homeowners will be considering improving their homes by paving their driveways, or sealing driveways that have already been paved. Unfortunately, paving scam artists also start appearing at this time of year, and homeowners need to be careful.

The Delaware Department of Transportation knows something about Wring paving contractors, and wants to share with the public some tips so people can avoid being ripped off when hiring a paving contractor.

Usually, the scam goes something like this: A work truck pulls up to the house, some men get out and explain they are doing a paving job nearby, and they have some leftover asphalt or concrete. And if they are given some money, they say, they will go back to the job site, get the trailer with the material and pave or seal the driveway.

In a way, this scenario sounds convincing. When doing a project, many people end up with extra materials. These workers say they just want a few dollars in their pocket, so they will use the asphalt or sealant they were just going to throw away to pave the driveway.

Unfortunately, in cases reported to DelDOT, when the homeowner hands over some money, the workers drive away, never to be seen again.

For protection, DelDOT recommends the following ways to tell if it's a scam.

First, very few legitimate paving contractors will sell their services door to door. So if someone comes to the door, and is offering paving or asphalt sealing services, know right from the start that odds are it is a scam.

If paving services are needed, contact a contractor that advertises their services in a local newspaper or by mail and describe what needs to be done. Ask them to provide the names and phone numbers of homeowners in the area that have used their services. If comfortable with their response, make an appointment for them to visit the home. While there they will take measurements, talk about the job, and provide a written estimated price for the work.

Second, do not pay for services until they are completed.

If the contractor wants payment for the job before the work is complete, decline their service. A reputable paving company will expect payment as soon as the job is finished, not before the work begins.

Third, good paving contractors rarely have much material left over.

For paving contractors, every ton of asphalt and every cubic yard of concrete is money, so they are very good at estimating how much asphalt is needed for a particular job. A good contractor will rarely have enough material left over to pave someone's driveway. Otherwise, they wouldn't be in the business very long.

Fourth, are they pressuring to make a decision right now?

If so, resist the pressure and take time to think it over. Legitimate contractors will provide a written estimate that will be good for days or weeks. Besides, it is always a good idea to get several estimates from a few companies before making a final decision.

Fifth, check to make sure that the company is legitimate. Before agreeing to a paving job, there are a few other questions to ask:

Is the business a licensed contractor for the state of Delaware?

Is the contractor a member of the National Association of Paving and Asphalt? Lastly, get a name, write down the vehicle tag number and ask for a telephone number if a scam is possible.

Copyright 2016 Cape Gazette, Lewes, Delaware. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: June 7, 2016

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