5 on Your Side

Need a new driveway? Don't get scammed!

Posted May 19, 2010 11:53 a.m. EDT

We get complaints every summer from people who say they were scammed by a paving company! So with the hope it will help keep it from happening to others, I wanted to share a warning put out today by the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina!

The BBB says in the last 3 years-- they received more than
10,000 inquiries about local asphalt and paving companies. The majority of complaints were about shoddy work after customers paid thousands of dollars upfront. The BBB says often, after the driveway job is finished-- the paving company disappears leaving customers with no way to contact them. Our local BBB says they have the most serious complaints against the following companies:

"Lee County Asphalt - Sanford, N.C. – BBB started receiving inquiries from consumers about this company in 2003. Owner Tommy Clack has operated this paving company with a long history of problems throughout North Carolina and South Carolina. Lee County Asphalt has operated under five different names in Eastern North Carolina, five different names in central North Carolina, and two different names in South Carolina. These additional business names have included Randolph Paving Company, Lee Chatham Paving, and Horry County Asphalt. Following a 2008 court order, Clack moved to South Carolina, but recent inquiries to BBB indicate that he is soliciting in North Carolina, again. For a report on Lee County Asphalt click here. Randolph Paving Company has an ‘F’ rating with BBB of Central North Carolina. Horry County Asphalt has an ‘F’ rating with BBB of Coastal Carolina.

Tommy’s Paving – Plymouth, N.C. – Within the last 36 months, consumers have filed eight complaints against this company. Six of the complaints have gone unanswered or are unresolved. Tommy’s Paving has an ‘F’ rating with BBB.

Allwright Asphalt - Raleigh, N.C. – This company has failed to respond to four complaints from local consumers. On at least one occasion, BBB sent mail to this company in an attempt to develop a report. The mail was returned by the Post Office. Allwright Asphalt has an ‘F’ rating with BBB."

The BBB says watch out for some of the following asphalt paving scam warning signs:

-Selling door-to-door. Reputable asphalt contractors will rarely, if ever, sell their product door-to-door.
-Claiming they have leftover asphalt 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.
-Push you 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.
-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 very low, chances are the quality of work will also be quite low.
-Out of state. Often the trucks they travel in are unmarked or they have an out-of-state license plate. Even if they claim to have a local phone number, scammers have more recently been purchasing disposable cell phone plans to provide a local number in the area they are soliciting. A little research will reveal that they have no permanent address and are not based locally.

About this Blog:

In addition to the stories you see on TV, Monica is always looking for ways to help consumers find deals and avoid fraud. She'll blog about what you need to know here.