I Team 10 Investigation: Gypsy paving contractors
Posted at: 08/24/2012 4:58 PM
| Updated at: 08/24/2012 7:06 PM
By: Brett Davidsen | WHEC.com
I Team 10 has an alert tonight about black-top contractors going door to door. Police call them "gypsy pavers" and they troll neighborhoods claiming to have left-over asphalt on their trucks and offering incredible deals.
They travel through neighborhoods peddling their pavement. Driveway contractors, many of them from out of town, are out there making the same pitch.
"A lot of them will drive around with an asphalt truck and the old adage is, we got left-over asphalt for you and we'll make a repair," says Carmen Santora of the Better Contractor's Bureau.
That's what happened on one street in Henrietta recently. Three neighbors all hired the same contractor to do some repair work. And all of them told I Team 10 they were shocked when they got the bill.
Al, who did not want us to use his full name, says he was just looking to have some cracks filled at the end of his driveway.
"Next thing you know it escalated and they started doing a little bit more of the driveway, and then eventually it ended up doing the whole driveway," he said.
The cost of the job...$4300.
"He never gave me a total figure until after the job was completed," said Al.
He says he felt powerless to say anything when the contractor presented the bill.
"I said, wow, that is a lot. But I said, well, the job is done and I can't say pull it up, tear it up because I can't pay it."
Across the street, the woman here paid $3800 for a partial repair. She told I Team 10 the crew stopped when she couldn't afford to have any more work done.
"Most of the complaints we've been getting on asphalt driveways is definitely seniors and it's unfortunate," said Santora.
We asked Santora to take a look and calculate what he thinks a fair price would have been for the woman's driveway. He told us about $1300.
Santora says the "gypsy pavers" are an annual problem and one reason he continues to push for licensing or registration of contractors in Monroe County.
"Registration would force them (to provide) a social security number, drivers license, license plates, where you're from. So we would automatically, at least, be able to get a hold of these people," Santora said.
After realizing he probably overpaid, Al says he tried calling the phone number the contractor scribbled on the invoice but had no luck contacting anyone. We also did not get a return call.
In retrospect, Al says he should have known better than to trust a crew he never sought out to begin with.
"Actually, you shouldn't have any work done unless you call the people. if somebody comes along and said they'll do it for you, I think you should turn around and say no."
The Better Business Bureau urges you to ask for local references and identification, including a license plate number to ensure you're dealing with contractors from this area.
Also, if you're in need of paving, don't wait for someone to knock on your door Go out and get several bids. And never sign a contract with sections left blank.