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Updated: April 17, 2023

Mainers warned to steer clear of paving scams

Orange Pylon on road Photo / Courtesy If a paver offers a job that sounds too good to be true, it probably is, according to the Office of Maine Attorney General.

‘Tis the season for road paving, and consumers should be wary of paving scams before enlisting anyone for a job, according to the Office of the Maine Attorney General, which issued a warning.

"The Office of the Attorney General has received many reports about too-good-to-be-true paving scams that end up costing consumers hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars,” officials said in an April 11 press release.

What generally happens with scammers is that a seller of paving services comes to a consumer’s door, claiming that they just finished a nearby paving job. They offer to pave the consumer’s driveway at a discounted rate using leftover asphalt. The paver then gives a low estimate — or no estimate at all — and begins paving the driveway without providing a contract. 

After the paver completes the job, they will demand a much larger payment than the original estimate. In some cases, the person will have paved a larger-than-agreed-upon area to justify the increased price. In other cases, the paver might use intimidation or threats to get consumers to agree to the increased price. After the paver leaves, the consumer often notices that the job is incomplete or shoddy. 

“The consumer has now lost thousands of dollars and ended up with a bad paving job,” warns the attorney general’s office.

While not all scams are the same, red flags to watch out for include unlicensed pavers; a story about leftover asphalt from a “nearby” job; an unclear estimate; and pavers eager to start working immediately and who demand cash payments.

The absence of a contract is another warning sign, and consumers are also urged to make sure to sign a contract before any job begins.

What consumers can do

Consumers are protected from paving scams by a number of laws and also have rights when it comes to contracts.

If a door-to-door seller of paving services began the paving job within three days of the solicitation, the consumer can cancel the contract even if the job has been completed and send the written cancellation to the seller. 

Once the consumer has canceled within the three-day period, he or she is under no obligation to pay for any work, even work that was already done. Those who believe they were the object of a fraudulent scheme should call their local police department and file a complaint online with the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection division.

Another option is to call the Consumer Protection Division to file a complaint Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to noon at 207-626-8849, or at 800-436-2131.

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