Al­berta RCMP warns prop­erty own­ers of paving con­trac­tor scams

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - OPINION -

This sum­mer, the Al­berta RCMP has re­ceived re­ports of sev­eral in­ci­dents in­volv­ing paving scams in West­ern Al­berta. 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 -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 403803-8229.

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