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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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BBB Tip of the Week: Take time, ask questions to avoid paving scams

By Lauren Hall Marketplace Manager

Every spring, people’s thoughts turn to outdoor projects, including concrete and paving. Then suddenly, you get a knock on your door.

Usually the setup involves a less-than-trustworthy sales representative visiting your home claiming they have leftover materials from a previous paving job. They are looking for homes with cracked driveways and say they can take care of your driveway for a very large discount over the normal price. The catch is that you have to pay upfront. From there, consumers have complained to the BBB about multiple issues.

A check of BBB’s Scam Tracker shows that paving scams are being reported across the country. And, many people report a loss of money, some upwards of $1,000.

How can you avoid paving scams?

If someone knocks on your door, BBB’s advice is to just say no.

The following checklist will help people avoid paving and other home improvement scams:

Avoid high pressure sales, either on the phone or at the door. If the offer has a time limit to it, hang up or close the door. Legitimate businesses will give people time to check for background information and important license and insurance information.

Research the company. Before making any decision to hire a paving or any other kind of contractor, BBB recommends checking out a company’s Business Review. Look for response to complaints if there are any on file.

Use the 3-3-3 rule. Get three estimates from paving companies, don’t pay full price upfront or pay with cash. Use BBB’s 3-3-3 rule: Pay one-third up front, one-third at the halfway or milestone mark and one-third upon completion of the work. BBB also recommends paying by credit card, which offers more protection. Once cash is gone, it’s gone.

Get a contract. Reputable businesses will draw up a contract with a description of materials, labor, start and completion dates, company name, local address and telephone number.

If you feel threatened, contact the police. You do not need to speak to anyone at your door. Report them to the local police department. Never let anyone you don’t know into your home.

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