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Public Safety Message - Door to Door Driveway Contractors Raising Concerns for Niagara Residents

Posted on Thursday October 03, 2019
 
The Niagara Regional Police Service is currently investigating consumer complaints after a number of Niagara residents have come forward to police after "hiring" a contractor to complete work at their home.

The complaints stem from contractors who are unsolicited by any consumer, travelling from door to door selling driveway paving and / or resurfacing services. In many of the cases the contractor will provide quotes for services that appear to be better than competitive prices. Once a deal is struck the contractor will request a large cash down payment. Initial work may start on the project, however based on police complaints the work will be sub-par and incomplete, after the initial work is done the consumer is often approached to complete payment for the project. Once final payment is received the "contractor" is usually never heard from again, phone calls will go unanswered thus leaving the consumer with driveway damage or a partially completed project.

Recent reports detail very aggressive and pushy contractors, eager to acquire the initial cash deposit from the consumer. Often a series of business cards, pamphlets and basic printed contracts accompany the door to door sales pitch. Central to the sales pitch is the anonymity of the contractor, workers and company, later research on the various companies yield a lack of any official presence online, any registration with local Chambers of Commerce, Better Business Bureau or otherwise. In many cases the phone number(s) initially provided to the consumer by the contractor may be answered for a short period of time to shore up the deal, afterwards the phone number is disconnected or goes unanswered, this is often the consumer's only link to the contractor.
In many cases consumer disputes may be resolved through civil remedy, however if you feel that you are a victim of a fraud please contact the Niagara Regional Police Service to file a report. 

The Niagara Regional Police Service provides the following information to consumers to assist them when considering hiring a contractor for their home.

Consumer Protection Tips when hiring a Home Contractors
 Get recommendations from people you trust.
 Prior to initiating work ensure the contractor is insured.
 Get multiple written estimates.
 If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
 Check references of past jobs.
 AVOID CASH DEALS
 Be leery of unsolicited offers via the phone, or door to door.
Put it on Paper
 Work requested and agreed upon.
 Dates Start and Finish.
 Exact Cost of the Project.
 Payment Schedule 10% Deposit at the start, final full amount upon satisfactory completion of agreed upon work.
 Acquire a Receipt.
 Acquire Guarantee / Warranty information.
 
For further Information please reference:
Consumer Protection Ontario

Submitted By: Philip Gavin
Approved By: Philip Gavin

Information on crimes can also be submitted anonymously using Crime Stoppers of Niagara.

To leave an anonymous tip, please contact Crime Stoppers via:

Telephone - 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS)
Online - www.niagaratips.ca
Text - Text is not available at this time.

Crime Stoppers guarantees that you will remain anonymous through any of the methods offered to provide tips. You may also be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000 if the information leads to an arrest.