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Spring sunshine signals start of paving scam season

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April 28, 2014

Tumwater – The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is warning homeowners and businesses to steer clear of scam artists offering to pave driveways and resurface parking lots.

Each spring and summer, asphalt paving scammers swarm into neighborhoods, knocking on doors to solicit work. Wearing uniforms and driving trucks with company signs, they typically claim to have material left over from a nearby job and just happen to have a crew standing by.

Too good to be true

They offer to repave or spread gravel on driveways and parking lots at bargain prices — if owners hire them on the spot. Once one property owner hires them, neighbors feel it's safe to do the same.

But don't be fooled.

These paving crews use high-pressure sales tactics and often prey on senior citizens.  They commonly find excuses to inflate the price once the job is done. Often, the contractors aren't registered, and the quality of their work and materials is poor.

Paving problems in Southwest Washington

In Southwest Washington, for instance, L&I recently received complaints about a paving company that's doing shoddy work. Once customers contact L&I, they learn the contractor is not registered.

L&I recommends you "Hire Smart" by using only registered contractors. Contractors registered with Washington state must have liability insurance, a business license and a bond, which gives homeowners some monetary recourse if a job is left undone.

"Even if you're thinking of hiring someone recommended by a friend or another contractor, see if they're registered on the L&I website," said Elizabeth Smith, assistant director of L&I's Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards Division.  "It could prevent headaches and save you lots of cash."  

Tips to Hire Smart
  • Verify contractors are registered at www.Verify.Lni.wa.gov or call 1-888-811-5974.
  • Get written bids from three contractors.
  • Don't pay in full until the job is done to your satisfaction.
  • If you're a victim of fraud, report it at www.Fraud.Lni.wa.gov  or call 1-888-811-5974.
  • Get more tips at ProtectMyHome.net.

Debby Abe, L&I Public Affairs, debby.abe@Lni.wa.gov, (360) 902-6043

Connect with L&I: Facebook (facebook.com/laborandindustries) and Twitter (twitter.com/lniwa)

Broadcast version:
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries is warning homeowners and businesses to steer clear of scam artists offering to pave driveways and resurface parking lots. Each spring and summer, asphalt paving scammers knock on doors, offering bargain prices. Once they've done the job, they often demand more money — and property owners typically discover the work was shoddy.

L&I recommends you "Hire Smart" by using only registered contractors. Contractors registered with Washington state must have liability insurance, a business license and a bond, which gives homeowners some monetary recourse if a job is left undone. For more tips on hiring contractors, go to ProtectMyHome.net.

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