- Homeowners throughout Wisconsin must be aware of individuals and groups of people traveling door-to-door offering home improvements, mainly asphalt paving.
- These door-to-door salespeople who solicit work from you are often not registered nor local.
- The BBB is not surprised that it has received its first report already this year of a paving scam. We see these reported every year, beginning about March or April (when the weather starts to warm up) and go throughout fall; September or October
- The BBB hopes to encourage homeowners to not make a decision at their doorstep by a stranger, and instead, take time to research companies before making a decision.
Here are some red flags of a door-to-door asphalt or paving scam:
- “I’ve got extra materials”– The salesperson will start the unsolicited pitch for home improvements with “I have extra materials” or “I was working down the street” and then offers the homeowner a “great deal” on paving. They often say “we just did work for your neighbor.” Professional asphalt contractors know, with great accuracy, how much paving material is needed to complete a project.
- No business card, no contract or vague contract– Reputable businesses will have a business card with complete contact information. They will provide a contract that includes: a description of materials, labor, start and completion dates, company name, local address, telephone number and registration number.
- Payment is requested upfront – Be wary of anyone asking you to pay upfront before work can start, especially if by cash (or check) and for a company that claims to have the materials needed to perform the stated work. Paying with a credit card offers more protection than debit or cash. Checks should be made out to the company, rather than an individual’s name. (Note: BBB always recommends using the rule of thirds when paying: pay one-third up front, one-third halfway and one-third at the completion of the work and when the homeowner is satisfied with the job.) NEVER pay in full before a job is completed and to your satisfaction.
- No identification– Reputable companies will have proper identification, solicitation permits for the area, and be able to provide the company name, owner name, phone number and physical address. Check for identification on company vehicles – is there proper signage? And not just a magnetic sign (travelers often use magnetic signs they can quickly change). Look for out-of-state plates on vehicles, often a sign of a fly-by-night contractor.
- Use high pressure sales tactics. A reputable seller will give you time to think through the offer and make an appointment to return at a later date. A dishonest seller will try to get you to sign up immediately and perhaps intimidate you into paying before you have time to do your research. Do not give in to high pressure sales tactics, even if the deal supposedly won’t last long or the salesperson is aggressive. Never make a decision at your door.
- Before making any hiring decisions, thoroughly research a company. Requesting bids from 2-3 other companies can help to identify unscrupulous contractors. BBB provides free Business Profiles on companies at bbb.org or call our office to check on a company – 414-847-6000 or toll-free 1-800-273-1002.
- Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true…it is
**Never let anyone you don’t know into your home. If you feel threatened by someone at your door, contact the police. BBB encourages anyone who comes across a door-to-door paving scam to report it. File a complaint with the BBB and local police. Report scams to BBB Scam Tracker.
*Addresses provided by door-to-door asphalt pavers (first, are rarely provided) and when they are, they are generally fake (motels are common, UPS stores, empty fields). *Phone numbers are quickly disconnected