The Better Business Bureau of Akron is warning consumers about a traveling asphalt business demanding pay without homeowners' consent.

A consumer recently reported that a business owner by the name of Harry Cooper showed up at his door in Stow offering an estimate on sealing and patchwork for the consumer’s driveway. The consumer took the time to discuss what he wanted, such as filling in a depression in the drive along with other work such as power washing and weed killing.

While Cooper made promises, the consumer said he wanted to think it over. Cooper agreed and offered to come back Monday to check in, the BBB said in a news release.

On Monday, the consumer was away from his home and returned to find his driveway already sealed. The consumer immediately called Cooper, and was told that the work was already completed and payment was owed. Because the work was never agreed upon, the consumer reported the matter to police.

The business card presented to the consumer only had the business' name, Harry Cooper's Asphalt Maintenance, and a phone number with a 330 area code. The consumer described the business owner's age as 25 to 30.

The consumer also reported the issue to BBB of Akron, sparking BBB’s investigation into Harry Cooper's Asphalt Maintenance. Upon initial research, the business owner may be related to a group of Oklahoma pavers that in 2018 was permanently banned from doing business in Kansas by the Kansas Attorney General's Office.

A pattern of similar business owner names (such as Cherry Cooper, Harry Cooper, Harry Cooper Jr. and Robert Cooper) were accused of violating the Kansas Consumer Protection Act (KCPA) by soliciting paving services door-to-door, failing to notify consumers of their three-day right to cancel the transaction and cashing their checks prior to the five-day waiting period. The result required the defendants to repay $41,430 to Kansas consumers and reimburse the attorney general’s office for the costs of its investigation.

BBB of Akron President Christy Page said it is not uncommon to see this occur with migrating solicitors.

"We hear about these [cases] all the time across the country, but we haven't seen these in our area in a while," said Page.

"If someone shows up at your door, you need to ask a lot of questions and research," she said. The homeowner did not say yes to the job, she said.

According to Ohio law, any door-to-door sales solicitation must give consumers three days to cancel, she said.

When BBB contacted the business owner, he would not provide a physical or mailing address. He stated that he was in the midst of moving to establish his business here.

Reached by the Beacon Journal, Cooper said the phone number was his and his name was Harry Cooper. But he said he was not in the asphalt business and did not know anything about the complaint.

BBB Senior Investigator and Dispute Resolution Consultant Christine Kellamis said she spoke directly to Cooper who acknowledged his business, but said he did not understand why the BBB was involved. Police also spoke to Cooper, Kellamis said.

The BBB issued an advisory against Cooper's business and gave his business an F rating.

 

Beacon Journal consumer columnist and medical reporter Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/topics/linfisher