Houston County authorities are warning people to watch out for scam artists who are offering to pave driveways.
The suspects show up in a dump truck and claim to have some asphalt left over from a highway resurfacing job.
At least two victims have paid thousands of dollars for work that turned out to be substandard.
To make matters worse, the business name on the dump truck did not include an address, city or state and the telephone number on the vehicle turned out to be fake.
Commander Bill Land said the work done is so poorly that homeowners usually find cracks in the pavement and grass growing up through the asphalt within a few days.
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Before you pay money to anyone that shows up on your doorstep offering a variety of products and services, the Better Business Bureau suggests that you do the following:
- Obtain the name and address of the company that person allegedly represents. If the person does not represent a known business and the circumstances suggest an itinerant contractor or sales representative, ask for references and contact each one.
- Get all details of the offer in writing and carefully review it. Make sure you understand everything in the contract. Any verbal promises should be included in the contract.
- Make sure the salesperson has provided you with the proper "notice of cancellation" form as required under the FTC's "Three Day Cooling Off Rule" for contracts signed in the home.
- Verify that the contractor is properly licensed, bonded and insured.
- Determine how long the company has been in business and call your Better Business Bureau to determine the firm's customer experience record.
- If you have checked references and the company's reputation, and you decide to hire the company, make the check payable to the company and not to the salesperson or other individual's name. Do not pay in cash.
- Remember, any legitimate company that wants your business will be more than willing to allow you the time to "check them out." Don't fall prey to high-pressure tactics such as "this is the only chance you have" or "by tomorrow the extra materials will be gone."
- If you have an expensive repair, be especially cautious of these offers. Obtain bids from several companies. Don't always go for the lowest bid - in many cases, you will get exactly what you pay for.
Source: http://www.bbb.org/library/warmscams.asp (The Better Business Bureau Web site)