The Department of Public Works and El Dorado city officials are advising local residents to be wary of an asphalt paving contractor who has reportedly been going door to door to solicit work in El Dorado.
Robert Edmonds, director of public works, and El Dorado City Council members said the contractor, Fisher's Paving, recently duped an elderly couple into paying nearly $3,000 for shoddy work on their driveway.
Edmonds said the couple, one whom reportedly suffers from dementia, lives on North Parkway and Fisher's was to have repaved their driveway.
Instead, the contractor laid down gravel that was not bound or sealed.
"They were supposed to get two inches of surface mix and they got two inches of gravel. It was not mixed or compacted and it washed away and he wanted $3,000 for that," Edmonds said, adding that the driveway was not properly trimmed after the gravel was put down.
He also said Fisher's does not have a business occupation license to work in El Dorado, adding there were reports that the contractor had moved on to the Goodwin Heights' neighborhood looking for work earlier this week.
"I can't even confirm that he's an actual contractor," said Edmonds.
Council Member Judy Ward said the El Dorado Police Department has been apprised of the situation and she advised local residents to call the EPD (non-emergency number at 870-863-4141) or the Department of Public Works at 870-863-4244 if Fisher's knocks on their door.
Police Chief Kenny Hickman said he was aware of the situation but did not have much information.
Over the years, the Arkansas Attorney General's office has issued multiple warnings about springtime scams, saying that each year, con artists take to the streets as the weather gets warmer and many residents are looking to make costly home repairs, upgrades, remodels or renovations.
Scammers often go door to door and convince some homeowners to make repairs that are not needed, sometimes demanding payment up front for work they do not intend to complete.
Former Attorney General Leslie Rutledge urged homeowners to do their due diligence in hiring contractors by researching self-employed individuals, businesses and companies to make sure they are reputable.
The AG offered tips that residents should consider before hiring a contractor for home repairs. Residents are advised to:
Think twice before hiring out-of-town or unknown contractors, especially those soliciting door-to-door.
Fisher's lists a phone number of 870-571-9748 and an email address of [email protected]. A website that is listed for the contractor does not work.
The contractor purports to do work in the Golden Triangle (El Dorado, Magnolia and Camden) and Texarkana.
Question contractors who use terms such as "special introductory offer," or "limited-time offer" or contractors who offer discounts to use your house as a "model home."
Do not fall for high-pressure tactics from contractors who want to discuss the price of the job later.
Beware of contractors who demand payment in full before the work is finished.
Ask for recommendations from people you trust.
Residents should also insist on a written contract or agreement that includes the name, address and telephone number of the contractor.
Also, consider a payment plan in which payments are remitted in installments and covers a third of the work up front, a third while the work is underway and the final third upon completion.
Consumers should also know that the Arkansas Home Solicitation Sales Act allows consumers to cancel any home-solicitation sale made within three days of purchase of the item or service.
For any construction, repairs or improvements that cost more than $2,000, the contractor must be licensed by the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board.
Contact the ACLB at by calling 501-372-4661 or visiting ACLB.Arkansas.gov to verify a contractor's license, the date the license was issued and if any complaints have been filed against that contractor.
For more information, call the AG's office at 800-482-8982.
Send an email to [email protected] or visit ArkansasAG.gov or the AG's Facebook page.