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Ontario paving scams make customers overpay and leave piles of debris

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More homeowners in Ontario say they have been victims of paving scams which saw them overpay for shoddy work and get left with piles of driveway debris in their front yards.

Carole Simmons of Aurora said last month someone came to her door and said they were working in the area and wanted to know if she wanted her driveway paved.

“Our driveway desperately needed to be done, so we thought why not let’s go with these people if they are here in the area paving driveways,” said Simmons.

While the contractors at first were friendly, once the job was done they demanded $5,000 in cash right away and said they would then come back to clean up a large pile of asphalt debris on their front lawn.

“We asked them if they were going to come back and clean up the mess in our front yard and they said yes, but they never came back,” said Simmons.

The asphalt debris is extremely heavy and Simmons has no way to dispose of it.

“We don't have any more money for someone to take it away so we have to break it up and I’ll have to take it to the dump myself. I’m 60 years old so I’m not happy about it," said Simmons.

A paving company was also going door-to-door in Pickering and Huu Nuyen also contracted a company to do his driveway.

But when the driveway was completed Nuyen complained about the quality of the job, and the company immediately took off and left a huge pile of asphalt debris in his front yard.

Nuygen’s neighbour Mike Burchell contacted CTV News concerned about Nuyen’s predicament and reached out to others on his street who also had problems with the pavers who were going door-to-door.

“What I see here is really unfair, it's just unethical. This is an innocent man who made full payment to them,” said Burchell.

Both Simmons and Nuyen tried to reach out to the paving companies to get them to come back and remove the asphalt debris, but in both cases the addresses on their contracts were fakes and their phone calls were unanswered.

The Barrie Police Service said that some paving companies going door-to-door are using “like-sounding” names similar to legitimate and reputable paving companies, but they don’t have a set place of business and work as “fly-by-night” operators.

Barrie Police issued a warning about paving scams in the Barrie area after being contacted by several victims and a local business that said a contractor was using a business name that sounded very similar to their company name.

“The public needs to be aware that these paving scams are happening. This is not just in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), but it’s also happening to the north, the east and the west of the GTA,” said Peter Leon, with Barrie Police Communications.

Leon added “we need to hold these individuals accountable and if we can, we will charge them with fraud because that's what we are dealing with is fraudulent operators."

Simmons said it’s unfortunate because bad operators are ruining the reputations of paving companies who work hard and do a good job. “I really think they are hurting the industry," he said.

Always be cautious of anyone coming to your home trying to pave your driveway or for any service. Don’t be pressured, check references, don't pay in advance and remember you don't have to talk to sales people who come to your door.   

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