BBB: Beware the asphalt scam

Asphalt companies are ramping up door-to-door sales calls, according to the number of homeowners calling BBB asking how they can tell when an asphalt company is legitimate or just looking to make a quick buck.

Consumers are safer dealing with a contractor who has roots in the community. Professionally designed and properly constructed asphalt pavement will last for many years, and most reputable contractors stand behind their work. They will also know whether or not a permit is required before work begins.

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Tell-tale signs of a potential scam:

Sales rep claims he has asphalt leftover 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.

You’re pushed 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.

Company insists on 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 low, chances are the quality of work will be low as well.

Unmarked truck. Often the trucks they travel in are unmarked or have an out-of-town address and phone number. Research often reveals that they have no permanent address and their phone number is often an answering machine.