Better Business Bureau issues area asphalt alert

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— Do business locally: That's what the Better Business Bureau considers to be its best advice to avoid being scammed by business like the itinerant asphalt companies that have reportedly been passing through town as of late.

The Steamboat Springs BBB has been alerted by resident Tony Connell of Connell Resources that consumers and business in the Steamboat area are being contacted by "gypsy" asphalt pavers.

If you feel you have been taken or approached by an unethical business operation, contact the BBB and your local law enforcement agency at once. The Routt/Moffat BBB phone number is 879-2821.

Re-used asphalt can look as good as new, for a while, the BBB said in a press release. Eventually, however, the asphalt crumbles and the itinerants are long gone, leaving the purchaser with a serious problem, and no one to turn to.

"They really like mountain communities," BBB communications director Barbara Reed said. "Severe weather makes new asphalt a necessity, and these folks are trying to take advantage of it."

Asphalt paving is an easy scam for the traveling work crews to run because individuals often don't know whether a paving job is good or not.

"Asphalt is time-sensitive, and can't be kept," local BBB representative Vera Crockett said. "But these guys aren't doing any surface preparation, and the thickness of what they're putting down doesn't meet city codes. There are a lot of things wrong with it. It's always best to check out companies that you aren't aware of with the Better Business Bureau."

Although the local BBB has not received any complaints from consumers possibly because it is difficult to immediately tell if the asphalt job is going to fall apart Crockett said she is sure that there have been local consumers hurt by the itinerant asphalt crews.

Some of these crews have names that sound like well-known companies from the Front Range, but there is no affiliation, Crockett warns.

"The city of Steamboat Springs has gone as far as asking Connell not to sell these guys any asphalt. The problem needs to be curbed," Crockett said.

The BBB has suggested a few ways, other than doing business locally, to avoid getting involved with unethical companies.

When approached by a remodeling or paving outfit, ask yourself if they are a bona-fide, reliable business. Ask yourself why they are soliciting business from you.

"Sometimes an individual or a business genuinely needs these services, whether it is asphalt paving, remodeling or exterior painting. These services are costly and it is important to get the best price for the job. When you do, go about it wisely," the BBB advised in a press release.

That means if prices seem too good to be true, don't let a business pressure you to decide immediately or pay up front.

"Legitimate businesses don't operate this way," according to the BBB. "Turn it down."

It is also a good idea to call for the names of BBB member businesses in your area that offer the types of services you need. As for referrals, check on business reputations, get written estimates and copies of guarantees.

Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions of the contract before hand.

Only involve yourself with firms that will be around later, when problems might show up.


To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail bnadzam@amigo.net

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