Maryanna Phillips was out in her yard when two workers from an asphalt company pulled up. They said they could sealcoat her cracked driveway for $300 with materials left over from a job down the street.
“They made me feel bad,” Phillips said. “The lady had been in a wreck. She had stitches all over her head and I’m like, ‘Go, just do it.’”
The job was sloppy. Phillips’ decorative stone and yard ornaments were sprayed with sealant. Even worse, the excess asphalt was dumped on the street and splashed onto her car, causing more than $1,200 in damage. She immediately tried to stop payment on her check, but it was too late.
“I know better than this. I used to take calls all day, every day with people who got scammed just like this,” Phillips said. “Like I said, I know better. She played on my heart.”
That’s a common tactic.
“It’s sad, but there are unscrupulous contractors out there, so you as a consumer need to beware,” Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks said. “Be cautious of anyone that comes to your home and tries to encourage you to take a deal on the spot. A deal today should be a deal tomorrow.”
Joseph Sullivan of AAA Sealcoating & Asphalt Maintenance agrees.
“I get calls all the time … ‘I had this guy over here, there’s sealant all over the house,’ and unfortunately, I have to tell people there’s no way to get it off,” Sullivan said. “You have to start replacing things.”
Phillips has her guard back up, but says if she can get scammed, anyone can.
"Unfortunately, we live in a world where you just can’t really trust a lot of people, so you need to check people out before you hire them out to do a job,” she said.
Angie says quality contractors don’t approach homeowners with leftover materials and a special low price, and if an uninvited worker won’t leave when asked, call local the authorities and stay inside.