Old Town Police say they have received many reports of residents being scammed by a company offering very affordable paving jobs.

What's the Set-Up for the Scam?

There are several ways this scam can work. The crooks may approach a local resident and say they've just finished up a paving job nearby and they have some extra materials that they didn't use. Rather than waste the valuable supplies, they could pave the person's driveway for a reduced price. According to a post on the Old Town Police Department's Facebook page, the scammers quoted another customer $11,400 then claimed the price was actually over $30,000, once the work was done. In this case, they may pave a slightly larger area to 'justify' the price increase or just strong-arm the buyer into paying. One thing that seems to be constant, however, is that the work is done very cheaply and will require repaving within a short amount of time.

How Can I Protect Myself?

So Old Town Police have a few ways that residents can avoid falling victim to these types of cons. While not all the scams are done the same way, there are some consistencies that could alert you to the fact that it's not legitimate.

  • Ask For Their State-Issued License - All door-to-door sellers of home repairs are required to register with the state and get a license for their business. If they don't have the license or claim they "just don't have it on them," beware. Even if they do give you a license, it's a good idea to check it's validity on the state's website.
  • Don't Believe the Leftover Asphalt Story - Old Town Police say reputable sellers will never have leftover asphalt, as they measure their jobs very carefully. As a matter of fact, by the time they get to the end of a job, any leftover product is probably not usable anyway.
  • Demand a Clear Estimate and Get It in Writing - If the paver is giving you an estimated cost, tell them you want the job measured and an accurate estimate of what it's going to cost before any work begins.  And make sure to sign a contract before any work begins that includes that estimated cost. Maine door-to-door sellers are required to provide a written contract with a three-day notice period, and signatures from the buyer and seller. Work cannot begin until that three-day period is expired, which can protect you from the fly-by-night scammers.
  • Never Agree to Pay in Cash - Once the cash is handed over to the phony paver, they could skip town without doing any work. If you pay with a check or credit card, you have more of a leg to stand on if the job goes bad.

What If I've Lost Money In a Paving Scam?

Of course, there's always a chance that you're going to fall victim to the wrong people and sign a phony contract. So, what then? Old Town Police say if the paver starts the job within that three day waiting period, you can cancel the contract by sending a written cancellation to the seller. Once you have cancelled, within that three-day period, you are under no obligation to pay.

Most importantly, if you think you've been scammed, contact your local police department and file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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