Bottom Line: Paving Problems
Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 10:17 PM EDT
COLONIE -- Springtime means prime time for "contractor come-ons" and already this year, it appears they’re coming on strong.
CBS6’s Dori Marlin has been getting The Bottom Line on driveway paving problems for years now, and while the stories may sound similar year after year, one difference this year is that the pitches are starting early.
"He said he was doing a job in the neighborhood, and he had extra blacktop to put down," said Karen Osuchowski of Colonie, about the deal that paver U.S. Asphalt offered her 75-year-old father on Tuesday afternoon.
She said the paver stopped by unannounced while she wasn’t home. The initial offer to her father was to lay the leftover blacktop for free. Then, she says, it changed to $3.00. Then, it was $300. Then, down to $200.
"My father said he had to go to the bank to get money, and he came back…and [the paver] was already laying it down," she said.
That’s when Karen came home and found what looked more like crushed rock, rather than blacktop – and refused to pay. When she threatened to call the cops, the paver took off.
"Anybody with a pickup truck can go buy some vinyl letters and put their name on the side of it." That’s what Dan Booth, owner of D&R Paving, told Dori almost three years ago when initially warning area homeowners about what to watch for. His company has an A Better Business Bureau rating, and some great advice to avoid being taken.
"If a paver or contractor comes up to your door – red flag?" Dori asked.
"Definitely," he answered.
"Do you ever ask for a deposit, or money up front?"
"No, never," Booth said. "That's just to give the customer a feeling of ease that they're dealing with somebody that isn't going to rip them off. And really, if you can't find information about your contractor online, that's a sign there's something wrong."
Karen told Dori that she'd seen warnings on CBS6 in the past, and said The Bottom Line is what helped in tipping her off.
"I've seen it almost every year for a couple of years that people come and they're ripping off senior citizens," she said. "Its very important. I mean, if I hadn't come home, my father would have lost $200."