Bullock Warns of Asphalt Paving Scams
HELENA – On the first official day of summer, Attorney General Steve Bullock warned consumers to be wary of door-to-door salespeople offering to repair their driveways. Each year, when the weather gets nice, the Office of Consumer Protection fields dozens of calls and complaints about shoddy asphalt and seal-coating work.
In recent years, consumers have complained that salespeople have come to their door saying they have left over asphalt from another nearby job and can therefore offer a low price and a lifetime warranty. These cons are typically based outside of Montana and often move on to another community by the time the tar dries.
Montana has strong laws to protect consumers who have been subjected to unfair or deceptive business practices, but the best protection is prevention, Bullock said.
“Montana consumers should be suspicious of any company selling their product door-to-door, especially if the salesperson is unwilling to provide the names and phone numbers of satisfied customers in the area,” Bullock said. “The best defense against scam artists is always common-sense – if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you feel that you have been scammed by one of these companies, contact my office immediately.”
Bullock’s website has helpful tips in choosing a contractor. Tip-offs to “fly-by-night” home repair or improvement swindlers include:
- arrival in an unmarked truck or van;
- door-to-door salespeople claiming “We’ve just finished a job nearby and have material left over so we can do your job for half the price;”
- high-pressure sales tactics;
- refusal to give you a written estimate, contract or references;
- very low bids; and,
- the ability to “start tomorrow” on your project.
Consumers with complaints or questions can contact the Office of Consumer Protection at (800) 481-6896 or (406) 444-4500.