Contractors quote low price then demand thousands more after work is completed
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 19, 2017) – Attorney General Andy Beshear and Woodford County Sheriff Wayne “Tiny” Wright said a group of door-to-door blacktop contractors are targeting elderly residents in Woodford County, and possibly families in the Central Kentucky region.
Beshear said Sheriff Wright contacted his office after a Woodford County resident was pressured into overpaying contractors to seal her driveway. Sheriff Wright said the woman initially received a low quote of $1,400 to complete the work and after complete, she was told she owed $25,000. Ultimately, the woman paid $14,000 for a project that should have cost around $4,000.
“Thanks to the quick work of Sheriff Wright’s office payment was stopped on the check and the citizen avoided losing her money,” said Beshear. “We appreciate the Woodford County Sheriff’s Office for reporting this scam and we want to make sure more Kentuckians know the signs to watch out for when it comes to avoiding door-to-door scammers.”
“Community awareness is key to stopping these predatory scammers,” said Sheriff Wright. “Whether they offer to seal your driveway, paint your fence or any other odd job, contact your local sheriff’s office immediately if you suspect suspicious activity.”
Beshear said not all door-to-door salespersons are scammers and many are honest trying to make a living. Nevertheless, before you commit to a door-to-door sales pitch take time to follow these tips:
- Be wary of a low price quote
If you receive an unusually low price quote be suspicious. Before you complete any large home improvement project, consider getting multiple quotes from different contractors.
- Verify and check online reviews
Verify that the contractor or business is registered to do business in Kentucky on the Secretary of State’s website, also check business licensing requirements with your city or county government. Verify online reviews through the Better Business Bureau, and ask for ID and contact previous customer references.
- Avoid upfront payment
If a contractor asks for upfront payment for a small home improvement job this should trigger a red flag. Often times, very large projects require some type of upfront payment, but only after the contractor is properly screened and a guarantee contract is signed.
- Do not fall for high-pressure tactics
Do not rush into making a decision. Tell the salesperson you need to discuss with your family, or you are not interested. Ensure any agreement is in writing and tell the salesperson you will review the agreement and get back in contact with them.
Beshear said the best way to stay ahead of con artists is to be aware of new and trending scams by signing up to receive Scam Alerts from the Office of the Attorney General.
Scam Alerts provide Kentuckians a direct alert, including tips on how to avoid scams reported in Kentucky. To enroll, text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311), or enroll online atag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.
To report a scam contact the Attorney General’s Office at 888-432-9257 and file a complaint online.