BURRILLVILLE – Rhonda Hanaway was at home in Mapleville Friday, June 4 when two men pulled up in a white pickup truck at 8:15 a.m. and knocked on her door.
The men, who had temporary plates on the vehicle and a loud exhaust, wanted to provide an estimate for paving her driveway.
Hanaway said that while she would normally not open the door to the uninvited guests, she was less apprehensive since her family was home, and told the men she was not interested.
“It was very peculiar. He didn’t leave anything for me,” she said of the salesperson.
Hanaway, who owns Johnny’s Victory Diner along with husband John Hanaway, found the incident so strange that she posted about the incident on social media to warn her neighbors.
“Just wanted to warn others,” said Hanaway. “They may be legit, but not a good business plan.”
The following day, another Burrillville resident posted a story about the same situation with an unfortunate ending.
Mandy Marie Ellis noted that her mother was checking her mail on Cooper Hill Road when a truck stopped and the occupants said they had extra asphalt and could pave her driveway immediately for just $3,000. Five feet before finishing, they changed the price to $7,400. When the homeowner became upset about the price, the visitors yelled at her and told her to call the police, and that they would take her to court to collect
The woman paid the pavers $3,500 with a check made out to Kevin Santos, which was cashed right away in a truck marked “Smoky Stone.”
“They didn’t finish the driveway and left asphalt in the grass and on the street even left the hose running,” Ellis noted.
Neither the individual or company name come up in a search of contractors registered in Rhode Island.
Social media is rife with victims describing similar incidents where the “pavers” used dishonest business practices, targeted older residents, applied an inch or less of asphalt and left behind a mess.
The Better Business Bureau issued an alert on the scam last year.
“If you protest, the contractor may use intimidation tactics, such as threatening a lawsuit, to convince you to pay up,” the alert noted. “In other cases, the contractor work, once complete, is shoddy and unprofessional, but the full payment has been made. Reaching the company the contractor was allegedly representing is impossible, or another company was impostered in the process.”