HELENA – Despite a soggy, cold spring, the Montana Department of Justice is already hearing from people who have been targeted by door-to-door driveway repair scams.
Attorney General Steve Bullock warned consumers this to be wary of such salespeople, who typically show up in Montana each year when the weather turns nice. Montana’s Office of Consumer Protection expects to get many more consumer complaints as the summer goes on, each reporting the same thing: Shoddy asphalt and seal-coating work.
“Not all door-to-door sales are scams, but when it comes to driveway pavers on your doorstep, be suspicious, especially if the salesperson can’t provide you with the names and phone numbers of satisfied customers in your town,” Bullock said. “Ask questions and if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you think you’ve been scammed by one of these companies, report it to my office immediately.”
In recent years, consumers have complained that salespeople have come to their door saying they have left over asphalt from another nearby job and can therefore offer a low price and a lifetime warranty. These cons are typically based outside of Montana and often move on to another community by the time the tar dries.
Montana has strong laws to protect consumers who have been subjected to unfair or deceptive business practices, but the best protection is prevention, Bullock said.
Bullock’s website has helpful tips in choosing a contractor. Tip-offs to “fly-by-night” home repair or improvement swindlers include:
- arrival in an unmarked truck or van;
- door-to-door salespeople claiming “We’ve just finished a job nearby and have material left over so we can do your job for half the price;”
- high-pressure sales tactics;
- refusal to give you a written estimate, contract or references;
- very low bids; and,
- the ability to “start tomorrow” on your project.
Consumers with complaints or questions can contact the Office of Consumer Protection at (800) 481-6896 or (406) 444-4500.