Westford and area towns have been investigating incidents of companies going door to door soliciting to pave, repair, or sealcoat driveways. Asphalt scams rob people of their hard earned money each and every year. A traveling asphalt paving crew may notice your driveway and offer you a low-priced opportunity to revitalize it. The employees use intimidating sales tactics and deception targeting elderly people. But a little bit of caution and common sense can help prevent serious problems.
- Beware of crews who approach you in your yard. These crews often promise low estimates because of leftover materials from a completed job a few houses away or on a nearby highway project. They may offer a guarantee but often the quality of the material used and application is inferior and you may soon have weeds growing through the new asphalt. Unfortunately, the paving crew is long gone by the time you discover you have a problem. It may cost you more to redo the driveway after the fresh look washes away with the next rain shower.
- Ask for a written contract. Beware of individuals who offer to do the work without a written contract. Without a written contract, the original low estimate may grow to hundreds or even thousands of dollars once the work is completed.
- Cash payments are a red flag. If the crew insists on cash payments, that's another tip-off. If checks are accepted at all, they are cashed immediately at the nearest bank.
- Ask for references. Don't do business with anyone who won't provide references. Ask up front for references and check them thoroughly.
- Have the work done on your schedule. Resist contractors who insist the work be done immediately. Take time to get bids from established local paving companies to compare prices. Take the crew's written estimate and tell them you will get back to them.
- Ask to see their permit. A transient merchant's permit is issued by the Police Department. The permit process has the salesman and their business checked out by the Police Department. It gives them a set of rules to follow in order to solicit business from Westford Residents.
- Driveway Permit: A driveway permit issued buy the building department is also required to do the work. A good contractor should know this and not try and do the work without one.