Lawmakers work to regulate pavers

WESTFIELD – State legislators have recognized that residents of the Commonwealth, especially senior citizens, are vulnerable to a classic scam practiced by so called “gypsy pavers” and have proposed a measure to protect them.
Legislators are not the only residents who have heard of instances in which a paving contractor appears at the door of a resident claiming to have “extra” asphalt paving material left over from a job in the neighborhood and offering a “good deal” on an immediate repair of the resident’s driveway.
Rep. Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington) has introduced a bill to protect residents by amending Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 142A, which regulates home improvement contractors, to include paving contractors
According to the State house News Service, Kulik said while speaking in support of the measure at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure that the classic scam involves an offer to repair defects a contractor may point out in a resident’s driveway which is presented as “a good deal” but only available immediately.
Kulik said that “the price is actually expensive, and then the workers will either do a slipshod job or simply leave after they have been paid.”
In Westfield, residents are protected by a city ordinance which requires that persons soliciting work must obtain a peddler’s license before approaching residents.
Police in the city have used this requirement to protect residents who are cautious enough to call police when they are solicited and Capt. Michael McCabe has pointed out that the licensing process ensures that the workers a paver brings into the city are not the subjects of outstanding warrants or otherwise unsavory.
He also said that unscrupulous unlicensed solicitors who find nobody at home may, having a semi-legitimate reason to be on the property, take advantage of the opportunity to break in or steal any unsecured items outside the home.
State Sen. Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield) has said that he would consider supporting a bill establishing a waiting period, similar to that provided in existing law on the subject in Maine, which would preclude work from starting immediately so a resident who experiences “buyer’s remorse” would have an opportunity to cancel a contract before work starts.
Westfield’s state representative, Don Humason, said that he supports Kulik’s bill, H3612, which he said was approved by the Consumer Protection Committee, on which he serves, and is now in the Steering and Policy committee to be scheduled for floor presentation for debate and a vote.

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