The Alberta RCMP warns property owners of ongoing paving scams and fraudulent contractor services. Recent incidents have involved illegitimate, out-of-town companies offering discounted asphalt-paving services to residents in small, rural areas.
Contractors claim to have leftover materials from previous jobs and offer to pave driveways and parking lots at reduced pricing. Companies may use business names that suggest they are affiliated with a government road maintenance department and typically provide false addresses or contact information (Government of Alberta, 2021). After contractors collect payment and disappear from the area, customers discover the materials used are poor quality and the work is unprofessional. Victims are left unable to contact the scammers and face expensive asphalt repairs.
The Alberta RCMP asks residents to exercise caution when retaining contractor services. Keep the following tips in mind to avoid falling victim to a scam:
· Ask for names of previous customers and verify that they were satisfied with the work.
· Research the company through the Better Business Bureau in Alberta, the Consumer Investigations Unit, your local Rural Crime Watch, or on social media.
· Obtain a written quote that includes the full business name, address, phone number, GST number, as well as provincial and municipal license numbers, if applicable.
· Quotes should specify the quantity and quality of materials being offered. Be skeptical if contractors decline to provide this information.
· Seek estimates from reputable companies to compare costs.
· Do not agree to a contract if you feel pressured or if the contractor refuses to take “no” for an answer.
· Be leery of unsolicited offers. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
The Alberta RCMP is working together with the Alberta Consumer Investigation Unit (CIU) to counter this trend. For more information, see the Service Alberta’s Dealing with Door-to-Door Sales tip sheet. If you, or anyone you know, suspect a paving-contractor scam, please report it at 1-877-427-4088 (toll-free).