Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Be on the Watch for Paving Scams

With warmer weather comes the urge to tackle those home improvement projects. And while reputable contracting companies are the rule and not the exception, we want to remind you to be on the lookout for traveling dealers pitching driveway paving offers that are too good to be true.

Specifically, be wary of paving companies that approach your home claiming to have extra asphalt left over from a job and offering to pave your driveway. Workmanship can be poor and the costs can be much higher than what was originally quoted.

Most contractors doing business in Missouri are ethical and reliable and provide quality craftsmanship and service. The traveling dealers give legitimate firms a black eye because it's difficult to follow up with them and they often provide little or no preparation work, use cheap or not enough material and employ untrained or inexperienced workers.

The Better Business Bureau recommends the following steps to protect yourself against less than reputable paving companies:

• Ask for local references and verify that the contractor is in compliance with local licensing, bonding and insuring requirements.

• Ask for identification and make a note of the license plate number on the contractor's vehicle.

• Solicit two or three bids for the work you are planning, but don't automatically accept the lowest.

• Make sure all bids are based on the same materials.

• Read all agreements and guarantees before signing.

• Make sure you understand all terms and conditions.

• Never sign a contract with sections left blank.

• Do not pay for work in advance. Pay by check when the work is completed to your satisfaction.

You can contact the Better Business Bureau with any complaints by visiting Consumers can also verify the status of a contractor with the Department of Consumer Protection at 800-842-2649.