The Dangers of Using Google Maps to Find Asphalt Paving CompaniesPosted on June 14, 2019 by James Farley
All property owners understand the importance of saving money when improving driving areas, warehouse floors, and parking options. However, determining the difference between a bargain and a scam can be tricky. Google Maps is a platform that many consumers depend on to search for reputable contractors, but the site is plagued by false listings and paid reviews. Unfortunately, if Google Maps is your only source when searching for asphalt paving companies, you may be in danger of becoming the target of a scam.
Fake Paving Companies and Paving Scams
False paving companies swindle unsuspecting landowners and businesses out of hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. By now, most people have heard of the "leftover asphalt" driveway scam that has plagued businesses and homeowners across the country. However, many unethical or illegal practices go unreported.
False companies, businesses without proper equipment, and unlicensed or uninsured contractors, use Google Maps to scam unsuspecting businesses and homeowners in different ways. These "companies" can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint as scams until months after the service is completed.
Common Google Maps Scams
- Listings with no physical address - These so-called local businesses show up on the map as a listing but with no local address or map pins.
- Fake (often paid) reviews - Reviews are a trusted way for consumers to find out if companies provide quality services. However, potential customers rarely have the time or the means to track down the reviewer's identity to see if they are posting large numbers of "local reviews" in different areas or even various states across the map. Fake reviews can be used to make a unlicensed contractors look good, or to deface local competitors with bad reviews.
- False addresses - Virtual or false companies sometimes use legitimate local addresses as a front for their business. These addresses are often residential addresses with no association to the company at all.
- Impersonation - It's a common occurrence to come across a company that is no longer in business while searching online. Scammers use these business identities to easily create a persona that looks legitimate.
Asphalt Paving Scams
A company that takes a down payment up front and never provides a service is obviously stealing your money. If you're lucky, this type of scammer can be reported quickly and won't get far. Surprisingly, contractors that participate in low quality or partially completed work can be even worse. Companies that cut corners or use cheap materials can provide a parking lot that looks beautiful for a few months only to leave you with major repair bills in the future when the paving company seems to have vanished into thin air. Additionally, low quality work often leads to damaged property that can become dangerous and cause injury to unsuspecting customers.
Paving companies use Google Maps to scam consumers in the following ways:
- False reviews to cover shoddy labor and cheap supplies.
- Fake addresses for fly-by-night businesses.
- Impostor companies who demand up-front payment and disappear.
No Penalties for False Advertisers
Google does remove false listings from Maps when the company is alerted by volunteers. However, they seem uninterested in tracking down the offenders themselves. Frequently, fake reviews are posted by supposedly local customers who supply companies with similar reviews across several states. Sometimes, these reviews are simply copied and pasted across multiple platforms or for various products. These techniques should be easily spotted and automatically filtered by a tech giant like Google, but the number of scammers on Google Maps continues to grow.
Reputable business owners and customers are fed up and working around Google to alert unsuspecting consumers in other ways like the Twitter hashtag #StopCrapOnTheMap. Volunteers spend countless unpaid hours locating and reporting scam companies and false reviews. However, they feel widely ineffective against the sheer number of scammers taking advantage of consumer trust in the Google name. In contrast, Google's response of cracking down on services often targeted by fraud and offering guaranteed listing ads seems more like a band-aid covering the surface of an infection that continues to get worse.
Google Maps is a popular tool that could offer consumers and honest businesses a way to thrive. Without more effective filters and stricter punishment, the platform is more likely to become a home to scammers hoping to take advantage of honest customers. Today's technology offers consumers more convenient ways to find the services they need. Unfortunately, there are always scammers with the ability to keep up with the changes and find ways to game the system. Your company's good reputation is too important to stake on a quick search that might yield questionable results. Using Google Maps alone could lead to disastrous results.
Finding Reputable Asphalt Paving Services
While it probably seems like the odds are stacked against you when seeking local contractors online, there are ways to avoid scammers and find reputable asphalt companies in your area. When choosing any type of contractor, it's important to seek reviews on multiple platforms. Companies like Yelp and Angie's List work to eliminate false businesses from their platforms with effective procedures that target and remove false reviews. Additionally, seeking reviews about the same business on different platforms can reveal problems that might not be noticed otherwise.
Some companies are even designed to protect consumers against scams. Searching your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) division can reveal customer complaints and recently reported scams. If you're in California, take your search one step further with CA.Gov's easy-to-use Check A License tool which will allow you to look up the status of a contractor's license and see complaints. Careful research is your most effective tool against scammers when seeking a quality local asphalt paving company.
Empire Parking Lot Services is Southern California's highest rated asphalt repair and paving company. We offer real value on every project no matter how big or small. Whether you're looking for repair, maintenance, or have a unique project that's never been attempted, our team is ready for the challenge. If you're seeking a reputable asphalt repair company with years of experience, contact us today at 714-633-0300 for honest answers to your questions or an estimate for your upcoming project.