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Driveway Scam


In the driveway scam, homeowners are advised that their driveway needs seal coating. After an exchange of funds, the driveway is either painted black or coated with roofing oil, which does not protect your driveway. Or, the workers indicate they will be back to start work and never return to the home.

Another scam is purported representatives showing up at your home claiming they have leftover materials from a previous paving job.  They are looking for homes with cracked driveways and say they can take care of your driveway for a very large discount over the normal price.  The catch is you have to pay up front.  The quality of work is poor because there is not enough asphalt to adequately cover the area.  This causes uneven spreading and thin layers which increases the risk of cracking or crumbling of the consumer’s driveway.  The other issue consumers complain about is that the representative begins work, only to find out there is not enough asphalt to complete the job that same day.  He or she will apologize and promise to return the next day to finish.  They never come back and the consumer is left with an unfinished driveway and less money in their bank account.  If they do return, the price to finish will be significantly increased.

Often, consumers do not have a way to contact the representative or the company they work for because they were never given a business card; they only have a cell number (that no longer works) and they don’t have an agreement in writing.

To make sure this does not happen to you, here are a few red flags that you can look for in a driveway repair scam:

There are leftover materials from another job. Professional asphalt contractors know, with great accuracy, how much paving material is needed to complete each project. Rarely will they have large quantities of leftover material.

You are pushed to make a quick decision. Trustworthy contractors will provide a written estimate that will be valid for days or even weeks. It should specify in detail the work to be performed and the total price. They also don’t mind you checking them out before signing a contract.


Cash-only sales. Most reputable contractors will take checks or credit cards and don’t require payment up front. The Better Business Bureau recommends never paying more than 1/3 up front, and only with a written contract.

The company is from out of state. Look at the truck the representative travels in. If it is unmarked or has an out-of-state license plate, be cautious. Even if the representative claims to have a local phone number, scammers can easily purchase disposable cell phones to provide a local number in the area they are soliciting.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask to see their driver’s license. If the worker is from out of state, how likely are they to come back if a problem arises in the future?

If workers come to your home and advise you that you need repairs, request to see their license to work. All contractors and businesses must be licensed and bonded. Do not hesitate to call police for assistance when confronted at your home by “business” men or women who try to hard sell you into something. Do not do business with unlicensed companies or workers.  If you suspect you are dealing with a paving scammer, report them to Takoma Park Police at 301-270-1100 and the Better Business Bureau at

If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  Don’t fall victim to scammers!

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