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CONSUMER OFFICE WARNS OF ASPHALT SCAMMERS IN COUNTY

Woodbury - The Gloucester County Office of Consumer Affairs and Weights and Measures is warning homeowners of contractors who are soliciting that they can resurface asphalt driveways for as little as $150.00 or less.

In recent weeks the County Office of Consumer Affairs has received several calls from elderly homeowners stating that they were "ripped-off" by men promising asphalt resurfacing for their driveways. The most recent complaint was received last week. In the past, residents have been warned about contractors who appear unannounced at their door to do home improvement work.

"If someone shows up at your home unsolicited and offers to resurface your driveway or do any other type of home improvement project tell them no, and if the person does not leave call the police," said Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger. "These types of scammers target seniors and try to take advantage of people who are not prepared to make quick decisions. Anyone who is getting any work on their home done should have a written contract and show proof that they are registered with the state as a contractor. "

Some home contractors have been trying to skirt The New Jersey Home Improvement Contractors Registration Act by trying to offer home improvement projects for under $500.00. Five-hundred dollars is the state law threshold for requiring contractor registration and other mandatory information that must be made available to consumers.

Director Damminger said, "We want all residents to know, especially our seniors, that they can call the Office of Consumer Affairs or their local police if they feel they are being harassed by high pressure sales tactics."

Most of the reports coming into the Gloucester County Office of Consumer Affairs have involved scammers who start a job, and when the work is near completion, they increase the price by twenty-five or fifty dollars to complete it. If the consumer refuses, they take the money the resident has already given them and leave the project unfinished.

Deputy Freeholder Director Warren S. Wallace, liaison to the County Office of Consumer Affairs, said, "Scammers use the summertime as an opportunity to ride around and spot seniors outside working in their yards or doing other chores. They have an instant target."

Statistics show that during the summer months, these types of complaints skyrocket, including high pressure door-to-door magazine sales and security system sales.

"Homeowners should be suspicious of these unannounced visits as ways for people to gain entrance into their homes. This isn't about making people nervous or frightened, but this is a real issue and a word of caution in these instances is justified," stated Freeholder Deputy Director Warren S. Wallace.

For more information or to inquire about any possible scam please feel free to call the Office of Consumer Affairs and Weights and Measures at 856-384-6855.