If you have an asphalt driveway, and it is in need of repair, you are a potential target for the asphalt driveway scam artists that visit your neighborhood. Unbelievably, the oldest scam has been around for decades and has cost homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars over that time. And it is still a fairly common occurrence.
Spotting the scam is easy. Controlling your urge to take advantage of a “great deal” requires a bit more discipline.
“Leftover Asphalt” – Most Common Asphalt Scam
The number one asphalt scam in the country is the leftover asphalt pitch. The contractor (or salesperson) comes to your door and tells you they have just finished a job in the neighborhood and they have leftover asphalt. He explains that he needs to use it or it will get too cool and be a total loss if not used quickly. He will then offer you an unbelievably low price to do your driveway if you pay cash. He may even explain he doesn’t have enough to do all your drive but will be back in the morning to finish it.
You can’t pass up the deal and write a check or pay cash.
Here’s what happens next:
- Your check is immediately cashed at your bank.
- If you don’t pay in advance, the contractor will show up with a truck of low grade asphalt and “pave” a quarter of your drive and promise to come back the next morning.
- They never show up again.
- Or, the next day a different “representative” tells you it’s going to cost much more to finish the job. You argue and the representative says he’s going to call the crew off unless you pay the additional amount. You do. Or you don’t. In either case the contractors skip town and head off to their next hunting ground.
- You are stuck paying another contractor to finish the job.
How to Spot the Asphalt Paving Scammer
For starters, professional asphalt paving contractors don’t have “leftover asphalt.” They know down to the cubic foot how much asphalt they will need to complete a driveway project. They might end up with enough extra asphalt to fill a pothole or two, but certainly not enough to do a second driveway.
The big “tell” that you are about to be scammed, is the contractor shows up on your doorstep unsolicited with an offer of leftover asphalt.
Now some legitimate contractors who are installing a project will go unsolicited to their customer’s neighbors just to show them the quality of their work. They won’t be offering leftover asphalt. Normally, if you wanted to have your driveway paved, you would connect with a number of contractors, get bids, check references, and then sign a contract. The scammer just shows up and presents you with a great, one-time opportunity, to get your drive paved for an amazing low price…if you pay cash.
If you fall for this, and the crew shows up and:
- Their trucks have out-of-state plates
- The contractor’s name and contact info is not prominently displayed on the equipment
- The salesperson’s card has no street address
Then you are about to be taken.
The best defense is to simply say no when the scammer first arrives. If you think someone is trying to defraud you, don’t wait, call the police or the Sherriff’s office right away. Don’t become another victim.