Fly-By-Night Paving Contractor Hit with Huge Fine

Posted by Tom Squeri on Mar 18, 2015

Fly-By-Night Paving Contractor Hit with Huge Fine

It happens all over the Country. A paving contractor knocks on a residential door, claims to have asphalt left over from a near-by job, and offers a “smoking deal” to pave the consumer’s driveway right then and there. The asphalt goes down and the contractor drives off with the payment. Weeks or months later, the driveway is a crumbling mess of deteriorating asphalt and the contractor is nowhere to be found. The cell number on the business card or receipt left by the contractor is disconnected. The consumer has lost the money paid to the contractor and the driveway is worse than it was before the new paving was done. This is one of the most common scams in the construction business, and far too many fly-by-night contractors get away with it. Recently in New Jersey, though, one got caught. In late December of 2011, the New Jersey Attorney General issued an order requiring one of these scam artists to pay more than $17 million for tricking consumers into paying for shoddy driveway work.

The contractor was found to have committed more than 1,600 violations of state laws and regulations. The order required repayment of $285,744 to the consumers who were harmed by the fraud, plus over $16 million in penalties to the State. That’s a big win for consumers in New Jersey, but the scams still continue there and elsewhere, including right in here in Central California. The New Jersey example should serve as a message to those perpetrating these scams that law enforcement takes this seriously.

Here in California, the Contractor’s State License Board and local law enforcement agencies frequently run sting operations looking for this kind of wrong-doing. For consumers, the message is that the scams are out there, and consumers need to protect themselves by dealing only with reputable, licensed contractors, based on signed contracts that clearly state the scope of work, quality standards, and warranties. Beware of contractors who claim to offer “one time” deals with left-over materials, and work that must be completed and paid for immediately. Deals that sound too good to be true generally are.

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