Department Warns: Paving Scammers Rolling into Connecticut
HARTFORD, June 9 – Local media are reporting that paving scammers have been spotted in Meriden and Middletown this week, and the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) is reminding consumers to avoid their offers and to notify local police of their whereabouts, if spotted.
“We’ve learned of a case in which workers reportedly began paving a driveway without being hired and even without permission from the homeowner,” Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris said today. “If proven to be true, it’s an outrageous practice. Reportedly, after completing the unauthorized work the pavers allegedly asked to be paid, then left. I urge consumers to watch out for workers offering jobs in your neighborhood, and don’t accept any door to door offers. In fact, let local law enforcement know where these workers are.”
Traveling pavers visit the Northeast most years, pushing underpriced, inferior driveway paving and sealing services. Some consumers are taken in by these smooth-talking scammers, losing their money, and often being left with a pile of rubble where their driveways used to be.
These unregistered, traveling crews often drive unmarked utility trucks and vans. Their salespersons go door to door, offering “leftover” asphalt from a nearby job that’s available immediately, at a bargain price. Other signs of a 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 DCP share information and often collaborate in tracking leads called in by savvy consumers.
“If you need work done to your home, don’t take any door to door offers,” Harris said. “Plan in advance, and do the planning and pricing needed to get the job done right.”
Harris offered the following tips.
Find a local paving contractor if your driveway needs repair. Don’t fall for pitches delivered door to door.
Because imposter scams are also a growing problem, check identification, such as a driver’s license, and compare this with the name on the DCP Home Improvement Registration card for anyone who offers to make home improvements, such as paving. Make sure they are who they say they are!
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:
the date the contract was signed
a start date and end date for the job
the price--you can request that labor and materials be broken out separately
the contractor’s name, address and home improvement contractor number
a 3-day Notice of Cancellation that allows you to change your mind by midnight of the 3rd business day (which includes Saturday). If you choose to cancel, follow the instructions on how to contact the company to cancel that contract and keep proof that you cancelled.Proof could include the return card from certified mail.
“By law, you have three days to change your mind on any home improvement contract you sign, so no work should start until at least three days have passed,” Harris 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.