Gypsy pavers scamming McNairy County
By Amanda Lowrance
Gypsy pavers are scamming people all over the nation. “Gypsy pavers” are workers that come to seal or pave your driveway, overcharge or do lousy work, and then disappear without a trace.
Sheriff Guy Buck said that there has been no recent activity of gypsy paver scams reported.
But recently I fell victim to a scamming incident at my own home. A man and a young boy came to my door wanting to reseal my asphalt driveway.
The two said they were from Jackson, Tenn. That is approximately 45 minutes and 35 miles out of the way for a business trip.
The man insisted that he was going to give me a good deal because he was already in the area. But they had to immediately start working on the driveway.
I told him I wanted an estimate and he began to walk-off the driveway to measure the square feet. He examined the asphalt closely and said that it would probably just need to be sealed.
“I charge 20 cents per square foot, which is cheaper than everybody else,” said the gypsy. “I will fix this driveway for $560 and it will look like new again.”
I felt sorry for them being so far out with the weather reaching into the hundreds, but that price seemed really high. I told him I needed to talk it over with my husband.
After mentioning my husband he immediately came down on the estimate.
“Okay, how about $400.” I hesitated for a moment and then he said, “I will go lower than that if we can start now.”
I agreed to let them proceed, thinking I was getting a good deal with him knocking off $160 from the original estimate.
After finally reaching my husband and updating him on the situation, he said I was being scammed. He said he had done some research on gypsy pavers and I needed to take action.
I began by observing their work and taking photos. The young boy used a blower on the driveway while the man sprayed a black, oil-like substance on the asphalt.
There are several cracks in my driveway, and none of them were sealed, just sprayed with the smelly, fast-drying substance.
I photographed the vehicle that had the company sticker, the license plate, and the scammer’s faces.
My suspicion was raised when I saw that the company sticker had no address and said “Same Day Service.” The Ford F150 also had tags that were from Arkansas.
Fearful of the safety of my children and myself, I wrote the man a check for $400. My husband cancelled the check while the man was on his way to town to cash it.
I took my children over to grandpa and grandma’s house to let them avoid the expected confrontation of the gypsy returning.
He did return banging on the door with his fist. I refused to let him inside and told him I knew he was a scammer, and I had all the evidence to send him to jail.
“Well I guess I will have to cut my losses,” he said and ran to his truck and has not been heard from since.
After doing a little more research I found that the average cost to have a driveway sealed ranges from 8 – 14 cents, and if you are able to do it yourself there are even more savings. The gypsy was charging 20 cents with the so-called discount.
Checking with my neighbors afterward, they had not ever heard of or seen Johnny who was “working in the area.”
Throughout middle Tennessee gypsy pavers are targeting mainly senior citizens.
An elderly woman in Putnam County was scammed for $1,800 to have her driveway asphalted by a family of gypsy pavers from Missouri. Several more cases have been reported in the Nashville area with various other scams such as laying down mulch and repairing roofs.
Police say that customers should beware of anyone who pulls up in a driveway and asks for work. Do not let them in your house.
It is hard to prosecute gypsy scammers because they travel so frequently, and victims keep handing over their money.
Stay alert and take action if this situation occurs at your home by immediately contacting the police. The scamming must stop somewhere.