Asphalt contractor baits and switches Halls homeowners

Asphalt contractor baits and switches Halls homeowners

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"They were not making the edges correct. They were just dropping asphalt on the sides. You can see the edges are not even straight," David Paul showed us. "They were not making the edges correct. They were just dropping asphalt on the sides. You can see the edges are not even straight," David Paul showed us.
The workers only used a thin coat and said they'd have to come back to finish the job. The workers only used a thin coat and said they'd have to come back to finish the job.
The edges of Paul's driveway were also uneven. The edges of Paul's driveway were also uneven.
"Then he asked about bartering things. Do I have equipment? Do I have jewelry? The whole time I said, no," Jackie Hitch said. "Then he asked about bartering things. Do I have equipment? Do I have jewelry? The whole time I said, no," Jackie Hitch said.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It's that time of year when con men start traveling throughout neighborhoods offering unsuspecting people discounted prices to pave their driveway.

It's one of the older scams around. A workman comes to your house, claims to have left over asphalt and says he can pave your driveway for cheap.

However, once the asphalt is laid, the con artist demands a higher price.    

Recently, a crew out of Chattanooga, supposedly, has been traveling around several neighborhoods in our area.

"I was working in the yard. A gentleman pulls up and asked if I wanted some asphalt work done," said homeowner David Paul.

Paul said a driveway repairman stopped by his house in Halls last month. Paul has wanted the apron of his driveway repaved for quite a while.

"He walked it off, measured it and said, 'How about $500?' I said, 'That would be fine. That would be perfect,'" he said.
    
But what started out as "perfect," didn't end up that way.

David says the job was sloppy - some parts of the driveway were missed and other parts looked like an amateur had done the work.

"They were not making the edges correct. They were just dropping asphalt on the sides. You can see the edges are not even straight," he showed us.
   
And the blacktop gets thinner and thinner as we walk down the driveway. Workers spread the asphalt almost to the end of David's driveway. The initial intent was just to the apron.

Then, they ran out of material.

"Oh, they were out, they were empty," he said. "They were going to come back and give me a new quote."

The new estimate was now $1,800, not the $500 as he was originally quoted.

Paul paid the $1,800. Despite several calls, they never returned to finish the job. He doesn't want them back now.

The receipt left with David shows the company's name as Asphalt Solutions out of Chattanooga and the owner as George Hemphill.

The same crew spread asphalt on Jackie Hitch's driveway. She lives across the street from David Paul.

She wanted some of the cracks on the old driveway covered, so Asphalt Solutions spread about 30 feet of blacktop.

"I paid him $500. He told me it was $1,500," Hitch said.

She stopped the work, but they didn't stop demanding more money.

"Then he asked about bartering things. Do I have equipment? Do I have jewelry? The whole time I said, no," she said.

In South Knoxville, Richard Miller was resting under a shade tree when a paving crew came up to his wife last month.

"He stated that he had some stuff left over they're trying to get rid of, would we like it. I said okay," Miller's wife, Kitty, said.

Without providing any estimate or any contract, the crew went to work on the driveway.  

"We never thought it would be $1,300," Kitty said.

Whatever they spread on the driveway, a loose mix of sand and rock, is now coming apart.

To get them out of her yard, Miller wrote a check, but before it was cashed she put a stop order on it.

The pavers who did the work left a business card from Hemphill again and Asphalt Solutions, but this time they were from Austin, Texas.

"I don't believe these people want anything but free money. If you show any kind of resistance or determination not to give them any money, they're going to leave," said Trevor Dunham, a fraud investigator with the Knoxville Police Department.
    
6 On Your Side contacted Asphalt Solutions and left a message asking to speak with George Hemphill. We never got a call back.      

"He saw old woman, easy mark. I saw a scheister who thinks I'm an easy mark," Hitch said.

She was lucky enough to get rid of him and now she has advice for others he approaches.

"Don't be stupid like I was and believe what they say," she said.

Contractors who stop you while you're in the yard and claim they have asphalt left over - tell them you're not interested.

There are many reputable, local, paving companies who provide estimates and contacts, and they finish the work.

If you're troubled by some of these fly-by-night contractors, get their names and contact authorities in your area.


Don Dare's 6 On Your Side reports can be seen every Monday and Wednesday on 6 News at 5:00.

If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email ddare@wate.com.

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