Department Warns: Paving Scammers Have Surfaced in Connecticut
HARTFORD, April 23 – The warm weather has led to the early arrival of flowers, insects -- and even paving scammers, the Department of Consumer Protection reported today.
“Spring and summer are prime seasons for bogus door-to-door offers, so consumers need to be wary,” Commissioner William R. Rubenstein said today. “We’ve learned that traveling pavers have already started their rounds in the state, and more fly-by-night operators offering chimney repair and magazine sales can’t be far behind. It’s important that consumers be extra careful and vigilant. Don’t let anyone in your home for any reason unless you’re sure you know who they are -- scammers have been known to commit burglaries if given the opportunity.”
Traveling pavers visit the Northeast most years, pushing underpriced, inferior driveway paving and sealing services. Bargain-minded consumers are taken in by these smooth-talking scam artists, losing their money, and often being left with a pile of rubble where their driveways used to be.
Crews often drive unmarked utility trucks and vans; their salespersons go door to door, and their sales pitch usually involves “leftover” asphalt from a nearby job that’s available immediately, at a bargain price. Other hallmarks of the paving scam include high pressure sales tactics, haphazard contracts and a request for payment in cash or personal check made out to cash.
Known for striking quickly and then disappearing, traveling pavers surface days later in a different area, making them difficult to catch. Local police departments and the Department of Consumer Protection share information and often collaborate in tracking leads called in by savvy consumers.
“If something or someone seems suspicious in your neighborhood, please report it to your local police department,” Rubenstein said. He offered the following additional tips.
· Find a local paving contractor if your driveway needs repair. Don’t fall for pitches delivered door to door.
· Verify that the contractor you hire is registered in Connecticut as a home improvement contractor by contacting the Department of Consumer Protection.
· Get the contractor’s certificates of insurance liability and workman’s compensation coverage from the contractor’s insurance provider.
· Check with your town for any required permits, and have them in place before work begins.
· Have your contractor provide all warranties in writing.
· Always get a signed and dated contract for paving work, since it will protect you from potential damages or misunderstandings. According to state law, the following must be included in writing.
o the date the contract was signed
o a start date and end date for the job
o the price, (you can request that labor and materials be broken out separately)
o the contractor’s name, address and home improvement contractor number
o a 3-day Notice of Cancellation that allows you 72 hours to change your mind, along with clear instructions on how to contact the company to cancel that contract.
“Since the law gives homeowners three days to change their mind, no work should start until at least three days after a contract is signed,” Rubenstein said. “Don’t be pressured by anyone who needs to start right away.”
To verify a contractor’s registration, please call the Department of Consumer Protection at (860) 713-6110, toll-free at 1-800-842-2649, or visit the agency website at www.ct.gov/dcp.