MOUNT JULIET, TN (WSMV) - The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, Division of Consumer Affairs wants to warn consumers about an alleged driveway paving scam.
In one complaint, the AG’s office said neighbors were approached by a man offering a deal on leftover material.
Afraid of retaliation, one neighbor, who didn’t want to reveal his name, told News 4 he wants to spread the word about what he says happened to him about a month and a half ago.
“That’s the reason why I agreed to this interview,” the alleged victim said.
The alleged victim said a man from the company Blacktop Pros came up to his house with two truckloads of asphalt, telling him that he’s trying to get rid of it.
“They said we can do your driveway for $1,500,” the alleged victim said.
The alleged victim agreed to do it, but said the crew came back with a different price.
“They ran out of the first truckload. They had maybe, not even half of the back of the driveway done, and they were saying it was going to be about $4,800.00 for what they had just done instead of $1,500.00. The father, the owner of the company, kind of got really irate and I said, ‘That’s not what the other guy told me.' I found out it was his son that came up to me,” the alleged victim said.
In the end, the victim said he ended up paying Blacktop Pros $2,000 and did not sign a contract. The victim filed a complaint with the State’s AG’s office.
“It can expand, so I don’t want to localize it, but, Mount Juliet is where it’s been most recently,” Deputy Attorney General Jeff Hill said.
The Attorney General's office said the operator named in the complaint is Robert Stevens with the company Blacktop Pros.
This is not the first time Stevens has been accused of doing this alleged scheme.
The Attorney General’s Office said Stevens was also named in a complaint filed in January by the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office for Deceptive Trade Practice Violations. The AG’s office also says the operators may have also used the following business names in the past: Robert Stevens Construction, R S Asphalt, and Pro-Pave Asphalt.
News 4 Nashville contacted Robert Stevens about the complaint.
“I don’t have a clue. I mean, we give a price and people either want it or they don’t,” Stevens said.
Stevens also denied changing the price on customers and discussed the complaint from Arkansas.
“Yes ma’am. That was my son, he ran the business back then. I took it over. It’s a long story, I mean, he ran the business and didn’t run it right,” Stevens said.
The attorney general said asphalt scammers often offer great deals for cash on the spot, claiming to have leftover material from a nearby project. However, the quality of the work is often shoddy and the final cost is generally much more than the quoted price. In many cases, the pavers claim they will come back the following day to finish the job, only to never return.
Even though this alleged incident occurred in Mount Juliet, the Attorney General's office said it could happen anywhere.
To avoid being a victim, look for the following red flags that may indicate a scam:
- Selling door-to-door. Reputable asphalt contractors don’t sell left over product door-to-door.
- Claims of leftover asphalt from another job. Professional asphalt contractors know with great accuracy how much paving material is needed to complete a project. Rarely will they have leftover material.
- Pushing you to make a quick decision. Trustworthy contractors provide a written estimate that should be valid for a specified amount of time. Never hire someone on the spot.
- No written contract. Insist on a written contract specifying in detail the work to be performed and the agreed total price, not just price per square foot.
- Cash-only sales. Most reputable contractors take checks or credit cards and don’t require cash-only terms.
- Deals that seem too good to be true. If the quoted price seems very low, chances are the quality of work will also be quite low.
- The contractor is from out of state or in an unmarked truck. Itinerant scammers will often drive unmarked trucks or have out of state license plates. Even if they have a local phone number, scammers have more recently been purchasing local cell phone plans to appear as if they are a local area business. A little research will reveal they have no permanent address or are traveling from out of state.
The Division of Consumer Affairs encourages consumers to utilize resources such as the Better Business Bureau’s website to thoroughly research a business before investing in their services.
For more consumer tips or to file a complaint with the Division of Consumer Affairs, visit the website or call 615-741-4737.