Bamboozled: Paved with promises

Independence weekend was the third anniversary of Murli and Sunita Kalro’s refreshened driveway.BB branding

And the third anniversary of their driveway headaches.

In 2006, the Kalros hired Right-Way Paving and Masonry of Morristown to resurface their Bridgewater home’s existing driveway, and to install Belgian blocks around the driveway perimeter. The $6,000 job was completed by the July Fourth weekend.

Before the driveway was a month old, there were problems. Cracks. Crumbling material. More cracks.

Murli Kalro said he called Tom Magill, Right-Way’s contact man and owner, before the summer was over. The work was guaranteed for three years, and Magill said the company would fix the problems. Kalro was told to call back in 10 days to set a date. Ten days passed, Kalro called, and he said he was told to call back again. A new work date was set. No one showed. Kalro called again. And again. Before long, Kalro said his messages went unanswered.

71409”Initially he would answer his cell phone and promise to come over and correct the problem,” Kalro said. ”Then voice mails left on his business line never got a response.”

Next, Kalro tried calling from a different phone number — without his caller ID — but Kalro said he only got empty promises.

”He would acknowledge my call and his warranty for the job and commit to come over a few days later, but he never showed up,” Kalro said.

Finally, Kalro decided to take Right-Way and Magill to small claims court. Kalro said when Magill first did the work, his business card showed a Morristown address. That address later changed to a Manchester location, and before long, Kalro couldn’t find any location for the company.

”I needed a physical address to serve him official documents in small claims court,” Kalro said, so without an address, he didn’t know where to turn.

Since that time, Kalro hasn’t had any success contacting Magill or Right-Way. That’s when he contacted Bamboozled.

A chance to do the right thing

The Better Business Bureau has two listings for Right-Way Paving, one in Whiting (in Manchester), and another in Morristown. Tom Magill is listed as the contact for both firms.

The Whiting company has a BBB rating of “F,” with two customer complaints on file in the past 36 months. One complaint was resolved, BBB said, but the company never responded to the second complaint.

The Morristown company also has a BBB rating of “F,” with four complaints against it. One was resolved, another was listed as unresolved, and the remaining two complaints were not responded to by the company.

That report card didn’t give us much hope, but giving Magill the benefit of the doubt, Bamboozled called to ask Magill to do the right thing for the Kalros.

Magill said he remembered the job, which he said was handled by his cousin, who used to run half of the company. Magill said his cousin is no longer with the company because he had a nervous breakdown, hence leaving some jobs unresolved. (Magill said this decoupling took place in March or April of 2006, but the work on the Kalros home didn’t begin until late June and the beginning of July of that year. Furthermore, Kalro said Magill was the only contact he ever had at Right-Way.)

Magill said he’d be happy to take care of the fix, and that he’d talk to Kalro to set up a date.

When the two talked, Kalro came away unconvinced that the work would be done.

”He’s up to his old antics again, starting the same tricks, saying, ‘Give me a call in 10 days and I’ll let you know when I can come out and fix the driveway,”’ Kalro said. ”I’ve heard that before.”

A work date was set. Then cancelled. Calls weren’t returned. Then a new date was set. No one showed.

Many weeks have passed. Granted, it was a rainy spring, and it needs to be dry for conditions to be right for driveway work. Kalro was trying to be patient. He made more calls to Magill, and Magill didn’t respond.

Finally, July FOURTH weekend, Bamboozled called Magill again. And twice more the next week. No response, yet.

Will Magill get the job done? We’ll let you know what happens.

In the meantime, Kalro headed to small claims court in Ocean County last week. We’ll let you know how that turns out, too.

Finding a reputable contractor

The best way to find a reputable contractor is through references. Ask your friends and neighbors who they used for a job and if they were happy with the work.
Get several estimates and ask all the contractors for references. Then, do your homework: call those references.

You should also check the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org) to see if there are any complaints about the business. Then contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (njconsumeraffairs.gov and 973-504-6200) to check the complaint history of the business.

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