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Question DetailsAsked on 5/31/2017

Over the phone I was given a quote of $100.00 to seal coat my driveway. But was billed $600. is this legal?

Received a call on my cell phone and was told it would cost $150.00 to seal my new asphalt drive way less than a year old which he and another company install. Upon arrival from a trip I find a bill of $600.00 under my door mat. It reads " Proposal" Address and phone numbers, My name and address is missing and there isn't a date listed or a job number. Next section - We hereby submit specifications and estimate for: Seal driveway 2 coats $600. Next section - We propose hereby to furnish material and labor - complete in accordance with the above specifications for the sum of: $600. Note - This proposal may be withdrawn by us if not accepted within __ days. blank Respectfully submitted also blank last area, Acceptance of Proposal blank He even insisted on doing it on Memorial Day. He told me he would put on 2 seal coats and put a little tar on the right side that was peeling. I asked how much money will this cost me? He said, $150.00 over my speaker phone. I said said OK.

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Red flags all over here.


You said $100 in the title line but $150 in the text - but anyway, if this has not been done yet, I would fill in the blanks on the quote form and cross out the $600 and put in the $100 or $150 (whichever he quoted) and then get him to sign it and keep a signed copy of it. Note that it says "Proposal" - so he is not even (at least till it is signed) attempting to pawn this off as a contract - even if you try reducing the price and pushing that on him, keep a copy of it both as received and as you fill it in if you do that.


Though probably safest to not use that form at all - I would arrange to pay him (assuming you actually told him to go ahead and do it, as it sounds like) the $100 or $150 he promised. How to pay him is the tough part - so he cannot come back against you. You need a "paid in full" invoice or receipt from him to protect against him claiming more $ or filing a lien, but I would not use a personal check because if he pulls this sort of scam he might steal your checking account info too. And would be by far the best to have a witness or two to back you up regarding paying him. If he does not accept that amount or will not exchange a paid in full receipt for it, then youy are back to the fraud charge.


One way to handle it - arrange to meet him at your bank to pay him and tell him to bring a filled-out paid-in-full invoice to give you when you pay him, and if he refuses to give it to you at that place (at the teller window) and time immediately ask a bank employee to call the police to charge him with fraud. That not only gives you a witness (the teller) and also puts him very much on the spot to take the money and give you the paid-in-full receipt and give up on hjis scam - if you are willing to let him go with that.


If the job was done while you were away (that is not clear from your explanation but sounds like it) then I would contact the fraud unit at your police department and file a bait-and-switch fraud complaint. And not pay anything until that is resolved, because in many area you will have to pay nothing if fraud was involved.


Of course, you should never rely on a verbal offer - get it in writing BEFORE accepting it.


And of course, if it sounds too good to be true, don't believe it - $100 for a seal coat job for even a smallish driveway is unbelievably low - the material alone would cost more than that for all but the tiniest drives, so sounds like bait-and-switch or an out-and-out scam to me.


I would bet the job you got (if it was actually done) was a watered-down sealer which will, if you are lucky, last until the first rain or the first time you wash it - I have seen sealcoat jobs literally washing away down the drive, not just from scams but from people going to WalMart or such and buying Blackjack or a similar very cheap "sealer", which when you go to mix it turns out to just be essentially oily water - no solids or tar at all. So I would not pay anything in any event tillyou see if it is going to last more than a week.


Personally, I would go straight to the fraud unit on this - I would suspect he has done this to a bunch of other people too.

Answered 1 year ago by LCD




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