ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Western Virginia is alerting the public of a scam involving door-to-door pavers.
There has been an increase in reports of door-to-door contractors recently, according to the BBB. Victims have reported duct cleaning and driveway paving scams circulating in parts of Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Rocky Mount, and surrounding areas, totaling over $10,000 in monetary losses.
One man says he was approached by two door-to-door paving contractors. The scam involved a middle-aged man in a grey pick-up truck waiting nearby as his younger partner offered to patch the driveway for a small fee.
The two people are suspected of targeting seniors as younger residents were never approached by the workers.
“If your driveway needs paving or house needs repairs, don’t trust just anyone to do the job, especially if the offer is too good to be true or seems too convenient,” said Julie Wheeler, President and CEO of BBB Serving Western Virginia. “Victims end up with shoddy materials – or nothing at all – to show for what they paid.”
The BBB says these pavers come through western Virginia every year — enticing consumers with promises of great deals on paving their driveways. The scammers’ usual approach is to go door-to-door stating that they have left-over materials from a job they did in the neighborhood and offering the consumer a huge discount to pave their driveway.
Door-to-door scams like this often result in unsatisfied consumers who end up paying for inferior work that often must be redone.
The BBB offers the following tips to avoid these types of scams:
- Be wary of unsolicited offers: Most scams involving contractors begin when a random contractor makes an effort to go out of their way to offer you an estimate you never asked for.
- Be leery if the company claims that it has “leftover material:” Most leftover material is not adequate to complete a new job.
- Watch out for deals that seem “too good to be true:” If the quoted price seems very low, chances are the quality of the work will be low as well.
- Ask for identification and license/permit: A company should provide you with information including name, address, and company association on a business card and proof of solicitation permit if required for your area. If a door-to-door solicitor is claiming to be affiliated with your utility company or someone you do business with, it’s always best to follow up directly using verifiable contact information before providing additional information to the solicitor.
- Door-to-door sales: Reputable asphalt contractors do not sell their products door-to-door. Consumers should be very suspicious of anyone appearing at their front doors offering low-cost asphalt.
- Vehicles with out-of-state or county license plates: This type of scam many times will be run by persons traveling through our local area from other locations. The big equipment (pickups or trailers) will be licensed elsewhere.
- Research companies and contractors before you hire: Start with BBB.org. If the contractor has multiple negative reviews and complaints, don’t hire them. Often, a simple internet search will reveal companies or individuals that have been involved in fraudulent activities or provided unsatisfactory work to previous clients.
- Contact your local city or county government: See if the company is licensed to do business in your area. Many municipalities require a peddlers or solicitors license to sell door-to-door.