LUZERNE BOROUGH, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Paving scams tend to resurface when the weather starts warming up. Some are concerned one is already making its way around the area.
This scam is nothing new, usually, it starts with a random contractor who shows up and says he has ‘leftover asphalt’ from another project and wants to cut you a deal.
Tuesday afternoon, Mary Lou Evans says a truck pulled up to her business in Luzerne carrying half a load of asphalt. A man told her they had just finished a job at the nearby gas station and offered to patch some potholes in her parking lot with their leftover asphalt for $2.50 a square.
Evans agreed and the next day he came back with more men and more loads of asphalt offering to do another patch. She agreed and left to do some work. But when she returned, the entire lot was paved.
“You’ve ruined it, I just had this parking lot sealed and lined and you’ve gone over it all,” said Mary Lou Evans, business owner.
She says the man returned, demanding payment.
“He said, ‘So listen you’re up to $20,870’ I said ‘what?’ I said ‘I’m not paying you that we had no contract.’ He said, ‘Well you, I did the work,’ I said ‘But I didn’t contact you for that, you were only going to patch the holes.’,” said Evas.
When she refused, he grew agitated.
“He goes, ‘well you know what, let’s just consider it paid in full. I hope you can sleep tonight,’. So he threatened me,” said Evans.
She found out they did the same thing to another business down the street, scamming them out of $14,000. These paving scams are a common con, especially in the summer. A scam alert from the Better Business Bureau says consumers should be wary of unsolicited offers, research companies, and contractors before they hire and get an estimate in writing before payment is even discussed.
Major red flags include: if they want full payment upfront, and never give you a written estimate. The Better Business Bureau also suggests making an agreement to stagger payments so work can be inspected at various stages of the project.
Consumers are often left with third-rate or incomplete work. Scam contractors will also imposter a company in the process making them very difficult to track down.
The Better Business Bureau says paying with a credit card can give you peace of mind since the credit card company will help you if the company is fraudulent.