Albertans are encouraged to be aware of potential paving scams seeking to take advantage of property owners in rural parts of the province, according to a press release issued by Alberta RCMP.
“This summer, the Alberta RCMP has received reports of several incidents involving paving scams in western Alberta,” the release stated. “Travelling companies, posing as legitimate contractors, offer paving or sometimes roof sealing services typically to senior citizens in rural communities.”
These individuals typically offer few details of their identity, RCMP said, and use non-descript vehicles rarely bearing commercial logos. Residents are urged to be skeptical of out-of-town companies offering to provide such services.
“The contractors claim to have leftover asphalt from previous jobs and promise to provide quality services,” the release stated. “However, the product used is believed to be cold, recycled asphalt or a gravel and oil mixture with no lasting properties. This results in the asphalt falling apart once it is driven on.
“By that time, these fraudsters are long gone, disappearing with their payment before the customer realizes they have been scammed.”
Property owners reminded to exercise caution when seeking to retain the services of a contractor – if it sounds too good to be true, RCMP said, “it probably is.”
According to RCMP, residents should be wary of contractors who:
· Come to your door saying they are working in the area, offering a deal for leftover asphalt
· Drive vehicles bearing no business names or logos
· Pressure you into making a quick decision or refuse to take “no” for an answer
· Ask for a down payment to buy materials
· Refuse to give you a written quote, with their business name and physical address, outlining the services they will provide prior to completing the work
Additionally, RCMP has offered a few tips to help property owners avoid falling prey to scammers:
· Before agreeing to contract a person who comes to your door, get names of their previous customers and verify that they were satisfied with the work
· Do some research on the company with either the Better Business Bureau in Alberta, with the Consumer Investigations Unit (CIU), with your local Rural Crime Watch or on social media sites
· Make sure to obtain a written quote from the contractor that includes the full business name, full address, phone number, GST number and provincial and municipal license numbers, if applicable
· Ensure the quote you receive gives details such as the quantity and specifies the quality of materials being offered
· Obtain quotes from local supplier as a form of comparison
According to the release, Alberta RCMP is working with the Alberta CIU to counter the growing trend. Anyone with information on these companies is asked to contact CIU North (north of Ponoka) at 587-985-4735 or CIU South (south of Ponoka) at 403-803-8229.