NORTH SMITHFIELD/BURRILLVILLE – A con in which paving contractors knock on the doors of homes and offer low-cost driveway repairs, only to later demand more money and leave behind a mess, is now targeting North Smithfield residents.
NRI NOW reported earlier this week that two men in a white pickup truck aroused suspicion of one Burrillville homeowner, and took advantage of another, with a shakedown well-known to customer-advocacy groups like the Better Business Bureau. The pavers tell homeowners that they have extra asphalt, or that they can offer a deal on repairs since they’re in the neighborhood, but change the price once they’ve already damaged the surface.
In Burrillville, a man named Kevin Santos driving a truck with the decal, “Smoky Stone,” reportedly told one woman he could pave her driveway for $3,000. Before the job was complete, he raised the price to $7,500 threatening to take the homeowner to court if she didn’t pay up, then left asphalt on the grass and street at the residence.
Neither the individual or the company name can be found on a database of registered contractors in Rhode Island.
On Monday around 8:30 a.m., the same men visited the home of former North Smithfield Town Administrator Paulette Hamilton.
“Mr Santos, a small, neatly dressed man with a heavy accent emerged from a white pick up, with a driver waiting in the road, no identifying decals on the truck, with cigarette in hand, knocked on my door the day before yesterday and said that he was the owner of the company and was doing the driveway of another neighbor,” Hamilton told NRI NOW on Wednesday, June 9.
When questioned, Hamilton said Santos could not produce the name or location of the “neighbor.”
“He was definitely knowledgeable enough with his ‘fix’ that he could have been very believable,” she said. “I had acquired several other quotes, so I knew that his $3,000 was about $2,000 less than the quotes I had in writing.”
Hamilton said she asked the pavers to return so she would have time to do research online, and found the story on NRI NOW. The pavers did not return.
The BBB issued an alert on the common paving con last year and published a list of tips on how to avoid scam contractors.
The former administrator said she plans to contact the police with the information.
“Please continue to pass this info on to your readers as they need to be caught,” Hamilton said.