Consumer Alert: How to spot, prevent becoming a victim of driveway repair fraud
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Earlier this week, Action 2 News reported about a self-described “asphalt gypsy” who was arrested in Brown County.
Now, we’re telling you how to spot this scam, and how to not become a victim of traveling repair crews who are offering to fix driveways.
This week in Brown County, an elderly couple told officials with the Sheriff’s Office about a pickup truck which showed up, and had materials to seal their driveway for $10,000.
The couple ended up paying $3,000, and told officials they were worried about being hurt.
Brown County officials then arrested Mico Jody Miller, 26, on August 4.
Miller told officials he’s an asphalt gypsy traveling with a 12-year-old, and that he’d been traveling Wisconsin for a month targeting elderly people.
The Better Business Bureau is warning homeowners not to be lured by a knock on the door and a low price.
“We’ve heard stories of instances where there wasn’t asphalt being laid at all, it was just motor oil. It only lasted a short time and the homeowner needed to pay a lot of money just to tear out and redo what the scam company did,” said Susan Bach of the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin.
The BBB says in order to avoid these type of scams, to do the following:
- Research companies - start with BBB.org and read reviews
- Get everything in writing - ask for an estimate and details of material and warranty
- Never pay in cash before the work starts
- Pay with a credit card, which will give you the most protection
- Ask for proof that they’re a legitimate business
“Check for licensing, people who are going door to door, they’re going to have a permit from a municipality. Any home improvement contractor typically needs some kind of license from the state - that’s a really good way for you to be able to weed out the legitimate contractor from the fly by night scammers,” said Bach.
In this most recent case, Brown County Sheriff’s officials believe there are more victims in Brown and Outagamie Counties, as well as other areas of the state, who might be embarrassed that they got taken.
If you’re hearing all of this and believe you were a victim in one of these driveway repair schemes, officials urge you to report it.
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