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Consumer Advocate: Don’t get paved over by asphalt scams

If your driveway needs paving or repairs, don’t trust just anyone to do the job. BBB Scam Tracker has received numerous reports of unscrupulous contractors who trick homeowners with supposedly good deals. Homeowners end up with shoddy pavement -- or nothing at all -- to show for what they paid and, in some cases, have lost over $8,000 in the process.

How the scam works

A contractor leaves a pamphlet or shows up at the door. They claim they have been doing work in the area and just happened to notice the condition of your driveway or sidewalk. Since they're already working nearby, they can give you a discount. If the price is agreeable, they will then ask for a large percentage of the fee upfront. There is some hesitancy if there is a question on the price or details about the business and its location. 

Once the transaction is complete, the scam contractor may disappear altogether. The contact number or email may not work, quickly helping you realize that the contact information was a sham. If you protest, the contractor may use intimidation tactics, such as threatening a lawsuit, to convince you to pay up.

In other cases, once complete, the contractor's work is shoddy and unprofessional, but the full payment has been made. Reaching the company the contractor allegedly represented is impossible, or another company was impostored in the process. In any of these scenarios, the chances of getting a refund or the work fixed are slim.

How to avoid contractor scams

To learn more, visit BBB.org. If you spot a fee scam, report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker. Whether you’ve lost money or not, your story could help others avoid a scam.