Scam Alert: Cheap Driveway Paving, Too Good to be True
The county is warning residents of a door-to-door scam that could cost victims thousands.
Months after an Annapolis man was arrested in a driveway-paving scam, the Howard County Office of Consumer Affairs is warning local residents to watch out for home improvement offers that sound too good to be true.
Tommy Edward Clack was arrested in South Carolina in June and returned to Maryland to face 13 criminal charges, some of which stem from the alleged paving scam. Clack is accused of under-quoting pavement jobs, then billing customers, usually elderly customers, for tens of thousands of dollars more than the initial quote.
In one instance Edgewater Patch reported that police blamed Clack – also known as Tommy Edward Clark -- in an alleged attempted to defraud a Davidsonville couple of $61,000 for a job he had quoted for $400.
Clack posted bail in August and allegedly went back to offering discount blacktop paving, then bumping up the price, this time in Queen Anne, Talbot and Caroline counties, according to the Queen Anne's County sheriff.
Now the Howard County Office of Consumer Affairs is alerting local residents of a scam run by unlicensed, traveling contractors after a number of complaints by victims here.
Howard County Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Schroen could not verify Thursday evening whether the local warning was related to the Clack case. According to court records, Clack is not facing charges in Howard County.
In a statement issued by the County Executive’s office, Rebecca Bowman, administrator of the office of consumer affairs, said: “While door-to-door sales people often target senior citizens, all consumers should be wary of these door-to-door home repair offers."
“Before hiring or paying anyone to perform home repairs, such as paving or gutter repair, homeowners should contact the [Maryland Home Improvement Commission] to check the license status of the individual and company.”
In addition to requiring a contractor's license, anyone who solicits business door-to-door is first required to obtain a solicitor license from the Office of Consumer Affairs.
According to complaints, the paving company offers discounted, same-day paving service. But, according to the Maryland Home Improvement Commission, once the company has completed the work, it inflates the price by thousands of dollars.
The Office of Consumer Affairs, at 410.313.6420, can answer questions and complaints regarding solicitors in general and other consumer issues. Additional information is available online at at http://consumer.howardcountymd.gov.