Paving problems

Traveling asphalt companies scam homeowners

Scam artists offering low-price driveway paving services reportedly have made a trail through Moffat County, and this isn't the first time.

The Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association is urging Colorado consumers to beware of the scam involving door-to-door salespeople offering unbelievably low-cost quotes on asphalt for paving services.

Recently, CAPA received reports about salespeople offering to pave driveways for very low costs, claiming to use asphalt "left over" from larger paving jobs. Such door-to-door scams usually result in less-than-satisfied customers who end up paying for inferior work that often must be replaced.

"What seems like a great deal today is a headache tomorrow," said Tom Peterson, executive director of CAPA, the industry association for the $500 million a year asphalt industry in Colorado. "Reputable contractors don't peddle asphalt door-to-door."

Within the past couple of years, such perpetrators have hit Moffat County residents for patching and "treatment" services that used products such as used oil.

"I would always be suspicious of someone who shows up at your door offering a service," Craig police Sgt. Bill Leonard said.

Previous asphalt scam victims were approached by men driving a pickup with a tank on the back offering to do resurfacing or other asphalt projects with asphalt they had left over from a previous job in Craig.

"There is no such thing as leftover asphalt," Peterson said.

Asphalt is heat and cold sensitive and will not apply properly if it is not mixed on a job-by-job basis.

"It's like eating a cold pizza," Peterson said. "If you put a hot pizza on the counter and come back to eat it two days later, the quality just isn't the same."

The asphalt that the scam artists use is often purchased from reputable contractors, but the quality of the workmanship and product is questionable.

According to Marlene Kinney of the Mountain States Better Business Bureau, the problems with such traveling companies include poor workmanship, the quality of the asphalt and cost.

"If you deal with a traveling asphalt company, and there is a problem with the work that they did, how are you going to find them after you've paid the money, and they've left town?" she said.

Perhaps the most tell-tale sign of a possible scam is the door-to-door salespeople.

"Reputable contractors plan their work, they don't cold call in neighborhoods," Peterson said. "By the time you are questioning the work, they are long gone with your cash."

The bottom line is that consumers need to do their homework before agreeing to pay for services of any kind."It's not different than plumbing or lighting -- if you don't use someone local with a good reputation, you're taking a risk," Peterson said.

Moffat County residents who have questions about a company or service can contact the Mountain States Better Business Bureau, the Craig Chamber of Commerce or the Craig Police Department.

"In asphalt paving, you definitely get what you pay for," Peterson said. "We urge consumers to check out the companies making these offers and to use local companies in good standing with the Better Business Bureau and the community."

Residents who suspect that they have been scammed, or who would like to report a possible scam should collect as much information as possible, such as a description of the vehicle and license plate number. To check a reference through the BBB, a caller must have a specific company name and BBB representatives can do a state and national search in minutes.

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