TIP: Gypsy Paving / Asphalt Paving Scam

I was informed by today by Deputy Constable Ron Hall, PCT 5 of an incident in the Kai Vista Subdivision on January 28, 2013 regarding a possible “Gypsy Paving” or “Asphalt Paving” scam.

Their typical pitch is to contact homeowners and tell them they have extra paving materials left from a previous job. They then offer their services at a much reduced price. In many cases, the work is poorly done, done with materials that do not last, or the driveway scam they pour old motor oil on the asphalt and it looks great at first but then you realize that it never dries.

When the work is completed they approach the homeowner stating that problems occurred during the paving process and the “new” price is substantially higher. The groups usually have several large trucks and heavy equipment with signage that may look official or legitimate. Some may even portray themselves as utility workers. There are cases where they will actually dump asphalt on the driveway first, then demand payment from the resident, making threats of harm if not paid.

The incident occurring in Hays County occurred on January 28, 2013. The incident seems like the typical scam, an agreement was made for a small area, the homeowner left the property to run an errand and upon return most of the drive had been paved. Upon arriving home, a disagreement with the “Paving Company” owner ensued over what work had been approved. Of course there was no written bid or contract. The property owners refused to pay, the “Paving Company” owner continually dropped the price until he was asking 2/3’s less then he originally quoted. Eventually he departed the property after the Property Owners said they were calling the police to assist in settling the matter. Later, the brother of the owner of the “Paving Company” arrived and threatened to damage the driveway if payment was not made.

An incident report was made to the Hays County Sheriff’s Office. The property owners were referred to their precinct Constable’s Office in reference to any further civil issues regarding this type of scam.

These scams cost homeowners thousands of dollars every year. Please research any deals that may seem too good to be true before agreeing to them. Call law enforcement if someone threatens you.

Here are 7 “Asphalt Paving” scam warning signs:

1. Selling door-to-door: Reputable asphalt contractors will sometimes offer their services if they are doing a legitimate job in the immediate area. Always ask for references.

2. Claiming they have leftover asphalt from another job: Professional asphalt contractors will know, with great accuracy, how much paving material is needed to complete a project. Rarely will they have leftover material. Some of the reasons a contractor might have left over material are due to weather, equipment problems, cancellations and etc.

3. Push you to make a quick decision: Reputable contractors will provide a written estimate that will be valid for weeks or months. If the great deal they are offering you today is not available tomorrow or next week it may be a scam.

4. No contract offered: Insist upon a written contract specifying in detail, the work to be performed and the agreed upon price.

5. Cash only sales: Most reputable contractors take checks or credit cards and don’t require cash-only terms.

6. Deals that seem to be good to be true: If the quoted price seems very low, chances are the quality of the work will also be quite low.

7. Unmarked truck: Often the trucks they travel in are unmarked or they have an out of town address and phone number. A little research will reveal that they have no permanent address and the phone number is often an answering machine.

Respectfully,

Jeffrey P. Jordan (SO2774)
Deputy Sheriff
Hays County Sheriff’s Office
Community Outreach Unit

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