Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Nebraska, South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa is warning consumers to beware of paving companies that knock on your door, claiming to offer bargain prices.
Several consumers from Wichita/Sedgwick and Butler counties in Kansas reported to BBB that they had hired a company called Pave-A-Lot. A representative from this company approached them at their homes offering to repave their driveways at an extremely reasonable rate.
In an attempt to get the consumers to pay for the job up-front, the contractor, Bartholomew J. Daley, aka Bud Daley, told them that he is low on funds because he has a child who is ill. All his extra money has gone towards his child’s care, and the up-front payment will be used to purchase the materials for their job.
The consumers were also told that Pave-A-Lot will rent the equipment to tear up their driveways, hire a sub-contractor to do the work and to haul away the old asphalt. In addition, Pave-A-Lot claimed they had sub-contracted with a local, well known paving company in Wichita to lay the asphalt. BBB has confirmed with this local business that they are not associated in any way with Pave-A-Lot.
One consumer paid Daley $5,500, had their driveway completely torn out, but the work was not completed. Another paid $1,100 and was left with chunks taken out of their driveway. A third consumer paid about $4,000 and had no work done. The checks were cashed and the workers never returned.
BBB turned its information over to the police for investigation. The contractor was arrested last week and charged for theft and forgery. If any Wichita residents have given him money or have been solicited by Pave-A-Lot, contact Financial Crimes section of the Wichita Police Department at 316-268-4193.
“The driveway paving scam is not new, but each year consumers are swindled out of unreasonable amounts of money, and often, the paving projects are unnecessary,” said BBB President Jim Hegarty. “In many cases, the paving company disappears and the consumer is not able to contact them to complain about the work because they were never given a business card or don’t have an agreement in writing. To make sure this does not happen to you, always check out paving companies at bbbinc.org to make an informed decision.”
BBB offers the following tips to help you avoid paving scams:
Beware of door-to-door sales. Reputable asphalt contractors seldom offer their services door-to-door, and they’ll do so only if they are doing a legitimate job in the immediate area. If you’re approached, always ask for references and proof of proper licensing.
They claim to have leftover asphalt from another job. Be aware of paving companies that approach your home, stating that they are “in the area” and have extra asphalt or concrete 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
High-pressure sales. Never hire someone on the spot. Trustworthy contractors provide a written estimate that will be valid for days or weeks. Ask for local references and verify that the contractor is in compliance, current and up-to-date with all local licensing, bonding and insurance requirements.
Bargain Prices. If the quoted price seems very low, chances are the quality of work also will be quite low. Many times the company will quote a low price for their work and, upon completion, overcharge the customer.
No contract is offered. Insist on a written estimate specifying in detail the work to be performed and the agreed total price, not just price per square foot. Then get at least two more quotes before hiring a contractor.
Unmarked trucks. Often the trucks they travel in are unmarked or they have an out-of-town license plate, address and phone number. A little research will reveal that they have no permanent address and the phone number often is an answering machine or answering service.
Get it in writing. Be sure the contract spells out which party is responsible for grading and sub-grading, equipment and materials, labor, pavement thickness and smoothness, etc. Make sure the payment schedule is satisfactory and that there is a clear guarantee or warranty for the work. Also, get an agreement in writing that your yard is to be returned to preconstruction condition. Don’t sign an agreement without understanding it.
Start With Trust! Always check out a contractor at bbbinc.org before doing business.