Residents of Yale Street in Maplewood recently reached out to Village Green and Maplewood Police about an alleged driveway sealing scam in which workers solicited work door to door on Thursday, July 28, then “changed the terms of the job and increased the price.” After taking cash payments, the workers then left the job unfinished and have not returned to complete the agreed-upon work.
“One neighbor reached out to them on Monday, 8/1, to confirm they would be returning to complete the work as they stated they would,” one Yale Street neighbor told Village Green. “They stated they may not be able to show as they were experiencing technical difficulties. Said neighbor then learned through word of mouth that they were working on another block in SOMA. The neighbor then went to the location to discuss the situation. From my perspective, no technical difficulties were occurring and the workers were simply working the next block to get new business, when they hadn’t completed the work at Yale St.”
Neighbors have filed complaints and shared vehicle license plates and ring doorbell video with Maplewood Police — who are investigating.
Maplewood Chief of Police Jim DeVaul warned residents against hiring unsolicited workers and offered tips for avoiding scams, including checking with police to make sure that the vendor is registered with the township, as is required by vendors.
From Maplewood Police Chief Jim DeVaul:
Maplewood Police Detectives are investigating a number of contractor scams where a person approaches residents while outside their home or door to door and offers to do work around the house and property. The most recent incidents occurred in the area of Prospect Street and Yale Street.
Anyone with information or video of the suspects should reach out to DLt. Palmerezzi at 973-761-7913 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residents are warned to be extremely cautious when selecting a contractor to do work on their home. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Maplewood has a Township Ordinance that requires anyone who solicits door to door to have a permit and register with the Town. Residents who are randomly solicited by person’s asking to do work should NOT accept or further engage the individuals.
I am asking residents to call the Police immediately at 973-762-1234 if something like this occurs. Let us determine if they are legitimate so that you do not become a victim.
Tips that residents should keep in my when dealing with this type of situation.
- Never let them in your house, they are strangers and it is dangerous.
- Never give them money upfront and be skeptical!
- If the deal is too good to be true, that’s because it is too good to be true.
- Selling door-to-door: Reputable contractors will not solicit door to door.
- Do not waste your time, get references and do your homework.
- Contractors claiming to have leftover materials from another job: Professional contractors know how much material is needed to complete a project. There are no “leftovers”. This is likely a scam. Avoid them at all cost!
- Pressured to make a fast decision: Say no thank you and move on.
Reputable contractors will provide a written estimate for you to consider.
- No contract offered: Avoid at all times. Insist upon a written contract specifying in detail, the work to be performed and the agreed upon price. Do not pay them any remaining balance until you are satisfied with the work that was completed.
- Cash only special price deals: Cash only or upfront is a major flag.
- Obtain more than one quote only from local or reputable contractors.
Please call the Police and let us help you and others not to become a victim.
Chief Jim DeVaul