(Dufferin County, ON) – On April 26,2013 Dufferin OPP received information about a possible paving scam in Dufferin County. Upon further investigation they learned the following:
On April 26th 2013, the resident was approached while doing yard work at his residence An unknown male approached the resident offering to put down crushed asphalt in his driveway. The victim understood the male to be offering the materials for free. The male produced a business card with email address on it of firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toronto address was checked later by police and turned out to be address of a UPS store in Toronto and not a legimate business address. The company name stated on the business card was simply Highway Maintenance.
Upon the resident's verbal acceptance of the spreading of crushed asphalt on his driveway, the male was soon accompanied by three other males, all in orange/yellow construction jackets. They arrived in a newer model white International dump truck, pulling a float trailer with what appeared to be three new-looking pieces of equipment for spreading asphalt. The males put material down on victim’s farm driveway and spread it out.
During this time, victim asked the suspects several times what the price would be, but was not provided with an estimate or quote. Once the work was completed, he was quoted a price of $8,000.00 plus tax for the “work completed.” The victim refused to pay that amount, and eventually argued the price down to $5,000.00, He felt obligated to pay them and guilty for not having stopped them from commencing the work without establishing a price. He felt he was pressured into accepting the finished product.
A generic invoice with no letterhead or business name was issued for $5000 and once the victim paid by cheque the suspects immediately went to a nearby local financial institution and cashed the cheque. The victim suspected that he had been tricked, and attended his bank, to put a stop-payment on the cheque.
The victim then reported the entire incident to Dufferin OPP.
Dufferin OPP remind citizens that they should follow a few simple steps when getting home renovations
- Always read over thoroughly all written contracts before signing them. Get a family member to review them.
- Get references from other customers to ensure quality of the work
- Do some research before you pay for product or service
- Thoroughly understand what product or service you are purchasing, the process any guarantees and complaint process if you do not receive the product or service you paid for.
- Inspect all work prior to making payment and ensure work has been completed properly and that the service you received was what you had paid for in your business contract.
- Legitimate business people will be happy to provide you with information on their services
- Always be careful about providing confidential personal information especially banking and credit card details unless you are certain that the company is legitimate.
For other helpful tips check out the OPP website at www.opp.ca