From the Niagara Regional Police Service:
Canadian winters can cause havoc with our residential driveways. Cracking concrete with raised portions, and salt damage may cause a homeowner to consider driveway repair or replacement.
The public should beware of driveway scammers who frequently approach homeowners unsolicited, employing deceptive tactics such as overpromising, underquoting, and ultimately failing to deliver on their commitments. These scammers typically operate door-to-door, offering driveway paving or resurfacing services. While presenting seemingly competitive quotes, they often convince homeowners to agree to a deal and demand a substantial cash down payment immediately.
Although initial work on the project may commence swiftly, the quality is subpar, and the job remains incomplete. Following this, the homeowner may be pressured to make additional payments for the unfinished work. Once payment is received, the so-called “contractor” typically disappears, ignoring phone calls and leaving the consumer with driveway damage or an unfinished project.
Victims often recount aggressive and pushy encounters with these contractors, who eagerly seek the initial cash deposit. The scammers frequently distribute business cards, pamphlets, and rudimentary printed contracts during their door-to-door sales pitch. Notably, they emphasize the anonymity of the contractor, workers, and company. Subsequent research often reveals a lack of any official online presence, registration with local Chambers of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, or similar entities. Furthermore, the initially provided phone number(s) may be functional for a brief period to secure the deal, after which it is disconnected or left unanswered, severing the consumer’s only link to the contractor. It is important homeowners remain vigilant against these scams to protect themselves and their property.
The Niagara Regional Police Service provides the following information to consumers to assist them when considering hiring a contractor for their home.
Consumer Protection Tips when hiring a Home Contractor
- Get recommendations from people you trust.
- Prior to initiating work ensure the contractor is insured.
- Get multiple written estimates.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
- Check references of past jobs.
- AVOID CASH DEALS
- Be leery of unsolicited offers via the phone, or door to door.
- Understand the scope of the work – If you hire a scammer and they do damage to City property, you could be held civilly responsible for its repair.
- Take pictures – Before, during and after. If suspicious, also consider photos of contractor vehicles and licence plates
Put it on Paper
- Work requested and agreed upon.
- Dates – Start and Finish.
- Exact cost of the project.
- Payment Schedule – 10% deposit at the start, final full amount upon satisfactory completion of agreed upon work.
- Demand a receipt.
- Demand guarantee / warranty information.
For further Information please reference:
Consumer Protection Ontario
Canadian Anti-Fraud Center