5 On Your Side story
about customers who got a bad paving job, a local paving company which has been in the business for 30 years called. They wanted to show people what to look out for so they can make sure you get what you pay for.
When the weather turns nasty up north, birds, tourists, and asphalt contractors head south.
"The type of contractors we call fly-by-nighters come through town," says Lyon Blalock of Blalock Paving in Raleigh.
Blalock warns that when it is too cold to work up north, many "pavers" look to pick up quick jobs in the south. He says often, they do not do a good job, they demand a cash payment, and then leave town before unsuspecting customers realize what they paid for.
Lillian Moody is one of several people who complained to 5 On Your Side that they hired a so-called "fly-by-nighter."
Complainants paid Daniel Thomas owner of Cornerstone Paving a combined total of $8,400 to asphalt their driveways. Now their asphalt needs mowing.
"It got warm in the spring, and I mean, it started coming up," she says.
Blalock says this happens when the ground is not properly prepared before paving. That means removing all top soil, then adding gravel.
Blalock says unscrupulous pavers look for people who already have gravel driveways and put asphalt right on top without first killing the weeds underneath.
"Asphalt acts very much like a hot house," he says. "It keeps the ground under it warm and moist, and so grass and whatever weeds are under there will try to push back up through if you don't kill it."
Something else to watch is pricing.
"What they'll do is quote a square footage price and not give a total price," warns Blalock. So what sounds like a great deal at first ends up costing thousands of dollars.
Make sure the contractor has a local place of business. The address listed on Daniel Thomas' receipts is not legitimate. Moody and the others have been unable to track him down.
"We all make mistakes in business and have problems, and that's what warranties are for. But if you can't find them, you're going to end up paying them to do it and you're going to end up paying me to come fix it," says Blalock.
5 On Your Side tried again to get in touch with Daniel Thomas at a new number in Michigan. Those calls have not been returned.
The lesson here is the same as with a lot of things: check someone out thoroughly before hiring them. It will save a lot of money and aggravation later.