Alberta RCMP warns property owners of paving contractor scams

The Alberta RCMP have received reports of several incidents involving paving scams in western Alberta this summer.

Travelling companies, posing as legitimate contractors, offer paving or sometimes roof sealing services typically to senior citizens in rural communities. These individuals have been known to provide few details of their identity and utilize non-descript vehicles rarely bearing commercial logos.

The Alberta RCMP urges property owners to beware of out-of-town companies offering such services. The contractors claim to have leftover asphalt from previous jobs and promise to provide quality services. However, the product used is believed to be cold, recycled asphalt or a gravel and oil mixture with no lasting properties. This results in the asphalt falling apart once it is driven on. By that time, these fraudsters are long gone, disappearing with their payment before the customer realizes they have been scammed.

We would like to remind residents to exercise caution when retaining contractor services and if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Residents should be weary of any contractors who: come to your door saying they are working in the area offering a deal for leftover asphalt, drive vehicles bearing no business names or logos, pressure you into making a quick decision or refuse to take “no” for an answer, ask for a down payment to buy materials and refuse to give you a written quote with their business name, physical address and outlining the services they will provide prior to completing the work

Here a few tips to avoid falling prey to scammers:

· Before agreeing to contract a person who comes to your door, get names of their previous customers and verify that they were satisfied with the work

· Do some research on the company with either the Better Business Bureau in Alberta, with the Consumer Investigations Unit, with your local Rural Crime Watch or on social media site

· Make sure to obtain a written quote from the contractor that includes the full business name, full address, phone number, GST number and provincial and municipal license numbers, if applicable

· Ensure the quote you receive gives details such as the quantity and specifies the quality of materials being offered

· Obtain quotes from local supplier as a form of comparison

The Alberta RCMP is working with the Alberta Consumer Investigation Unit (CIU) to counter this trend. If you or anyone you know have any information on these companies, please contact the Consumer Investigations Unit – North (north of Ponoka) at 587-985-4735 or the Consumer Investigations Unit – South (south of Ponoka) at 403-803-8229.

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