Warm Weather? Must be Time for Asphalt-Paving Scams

The traveling paving scam is one Washington state inspectors see every spring. Often, a contractor will approach a homeowner offering to repave a driveway for a low price, sometimes claiming the materials are left over from a nearby paving job.

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is reminding all property owners to protect themselves from unscrupulous contractors.

In a recent case, a Washington homeowner was approached in mid April by a contractor who offered to pave her driveway with asphalt for $6,300. He asked for payment to be made in cash. Several days after the work was done, the asphalt began to crumble.

The traveling paving scam is one L&I inspectors say they see every spring. Often, a contractor will approach a homeowner offering to repave a driveway for a low price, sometimes claiming the materials are left over from a nearby paving job.

These paving jobs can have a host of problems that include:

  • Subpar materials or watered-down asphalt
  • Thinly poured asphalt that allows vegetation to grow through
  • Improper preparation of the foundation leading to cracking
  • Drainage problems
  • Bait and switch pricing

In paving scam cases, contractors are typically not registered with the state, have no insurance, and no bond. While L&I can cite the contractor for operating without registration, the victim is still out the money he or she has paid.

Property owners should watch for red flags, including contractors who:

  • Want to be paid in cash
  • Want a check made out to someone other than the business
  • Will work only weekends
  • Use high-pressure sales tactics

The bottom line when hiring a contractor is to check with the state before it’s too late.

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