Don’t get steamrolled by paving scams
By Attorney General Roy Cooper
As the weather heats up, so do home improvement scams.
My office recently took action against two companies that used high-pressure sales tactics to trick consumers, especially seniors, into paying too much to have their driveways paved. Consumers complained that these companies starting paving jobs within minutes of getting them to sign a contract. Courts have responded by banning one of the companies from residential paving in North Carolina and restricting the operations of the other after a $50,000 payment.
Paving scams tend to follow a pattern. Someone knocks on your door, claiming to have extra paving materials from other projects in the neighborhood. They offer what they say is a low price to repave your driveway. The crew starts work as soon as you sign a contract, if not before, and demands payment immediately. In many cases, the work and materials turn out to be substandard and many consumers have to pay another paver to re-do the job.
Consider these tips to help avoid falling victim to a driveway paving and other home repair scams:
- Avoid high-pressure tactics. Don't be pressured to sign right now or lose out on a great deal. This is a common tactic of scammers to stop you from checking them out, looking for a better price, or taking time to make your decision.
- Never pay in cash. Try to use a credit card to pay for goods or services you purchase from a door-to-door salesperson. Most banks and credit card companies will allow you dispute the charge if you discover a problem.
- Consider a cooling off period. Before you sign a contract and pay any money, take at least a day to think it over. Call friends and relatives to get their thoughts about the purchase. Make sure to get written estimates from other local paving companies before you make a decision.
- Do some research first. Check with your local law enforcement, my Consumer Protection Division and the Better Business Bureau to see if there are complaints about the company or similar companies before you sign a contract or pay any money.
- Know your right to cancel. North Carolina law gives you three days to cancel certain purchases or transactions even after you’ve signed a contract and paid your money. For sales of goods or services that take place away from seller’s normal place of business, such as at your home, consumers have three days to cancel by returning the written cancelation form.
To report a home repair scam or any other violation of the three-day right to cancel, contact my Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free in North Carolina or online