You get a knock on your door. The man tells you he has some leftover asphalt from a nearby project and he's willing to pave your driveway cheap.
The Better Business Bureau says: beware the smooth talk.
"Professional asphalt contractors know, with great accuracy, how much paving material is needed to complete a project. Rarely will they have leftover material," the BBB said.
The bureau says that solicitors peddle asphalt and concrete in Minnesota and other northern states in warmer weather and are known to migrate south to drum up winter-time business.
The BBB warns that "the quality of work is often sub-par and the final cost can sometimes be double -- or even many times -- the quoted price," based on the hundreds of complaints it receives from Minnesotans and North Dakotans every season.
If quality issues arise later, customers, who often were only provided with a phone number for the business, find their calls unreturned.
The bureau suggests you be leery of high-pressure sales tactics, unmarked trucks, deals that seem too good to be true, and solicitors who offer no written contract and who insist on being paid in cash. These tips apply to all door-to-door solicitations.
Financial help in tough times
A federal website tailored to the unemployed or anybody simply trying to make ends meet has useful information on low-cost services and links to federal and state programs.
Topics include avoiding credit and money scams, unemployment assistance, job training, stretching your food budget, mortgage or rent assistance and public health clinics.
View the site at www.startribune.com/a1421.