BBB warns eastern Idaho residents of possible paving problems

Black Magic Asphalt uses Rexburg address, area residents dissatisfied with workmanship

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

ST. ANTHONY, Idaho – Kelly Rydalch knew her driveway was in disrepair, and had mentioned it several times to her husband that it needed to be fixed.

So, when an asphalt salesman threw out a pitch on her doorstep about working in the area and having extra material, it piqued her interest.

“He said they could take care of the driveway for a very large discount over the normal price,” she says. “The only thing I had to do was pay a little up front and they would do the job for less.”

The catch is the asphalt company wanted an upfront payment – $3,000 – which is a warning flag there may be trouble.

When she inspected the job done by Black Magic Asphalt, working from Rexburg, she questioned the work and was told by Bobbie Mullins it was completed. Rydalch was given a contract after the work was done. She called and spoke with Mullins who said Black Magic Asphalt had already lost money on the job. She was only provided a cell phone number and that number is not being answered.

BBB found that Black Magic Asphalt registered with the Secretary of State on Aug. 19 after it was brought to company official’s attention. The business address provided is a UPS store on North 2nd East, Rexburg, as is a secondary address on Channing Way, Idaho Falls.

The company was using leftover materials, provided inadequate road base, and didn’t complete compacting on the driveway edges. The quality of work is poor because there was no road base, causing uneven spreading, and a risk of further cracking of the homeowner’s driveway.

Black Magic contractor did return and put a sealant coat over the new asphalt.

“I’m just very disappointed with the service and the way it was done,” Rydalch says.

Further concerns expressed by residents who used Black Magic Asphalt for driveway projects

HIBBARD, Idaho — “The contractor told me that they had laid the apron in their wrong,” Hibbard resident Kent says. “[The contractor] said when the first snowplow drives by, he’s going to rip it right off.”

Kent, who asked not to be identified, paid $7,500 for a driveway that had serious flaws. He said he investigated paving after Black Magic Asphalt crews ran short the first night and returned a second day to work on the driveway.

“The first day it was late, and the material was cooling when they laid it down,” he says. “I ask the contractor about that, and he said asphalt should never be laid down cold.”

Kent then began to talk with other residents in the area who had work done by Black Magic.
“I found more than one person was dissatisfied with the workmanship and that all had been quoted one price and when finished, been given a higher price,” he says.

He says the man, Lee Mullins, demanded cash or a check, and wouldn’t take his credit card. Kent has since put a stop-payment and challenge on the credit card payment. He said he will be filing a report with BBB and the Madison County sheriff’s department.

East Idaho paving company works fast to correct problems

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – A recent incident involving a Rexburg-based paving company – Black Magic Paving – illustrates the power of self-regulation.

A resident claimed she had not received the paving project she’d ordered and paid for and was upset because she could not get the business to respond to her complaints. BBB became involved and investigated Black Magic Paving, and issued a news release. After the story aired on KIFI-TV, Better Business Bureau serving the Snake River Region heard immediately from Joe Mullins, the paving company CEO.

“I’m trying to run a clean business,” Mullins says. “I just want to do the right thing.

Apparently, Mullins had operated the business under West Coast Paving and Black Magic Paving in Arizona. When he moved to Idaho, he registered the business with the Bureau of Occupational Licenses and received a contractor’s number. He registered under West Coast Paving, LLC.

“When we moved, we chose to consolidate under the Black Magic name,” Mullins says.

However, he failed to register with the Idaho Secretary of State, but has registered as of Aug. 22.

And, he hadn’t notify BBB the company was operating in Idaho. Black Magic Paving is registered with BBB in Arizona. He has since notified BBB of his activities, provided a mailing address in Rexburg and provided BBB with an alleged physical address (a UPS Store on Channing Way) in Idaho Falls where his equipment is stored.

“The gal at the Bureau of Occupational Licenses said that was all we needed to operate our paving company,” Mullins says. “We thought we’d taken all the proper action necessary.”

Not taking care of the paperwork himself left him with more than a paving problem in St. Anthony.

“I don’t want people to think we’re a fly-by-night outfit,” he says. “We’re trying to do businesses in this area and get set up properly.”

Dale Dixon, CEO of Better Business Bureau, says this is powerful because it shows how businesses are encouraged to take the right steps in making sure they are trustworthy, honest and transparent in their dealings.

He told BBB he would uphold promises made, and would contact Ms. Rydalch to give a full refund to the homeowner or fix the concerns.

Here’s what you need to know to avoid these problems

To make sure this does not happen to you, here are a few warning flags:

  • There are leftover materials from another job. Professional asphalt contractors know, with great accuracy, how much paving material is needed to complete each project. Rarely will they have large quantities of leftover material.
  • You are pushed to make a quick decision. Trustworthy contractors will give a written estimate that will be valid for days or weeks. It should specify in detail the work to be performed and the total price. They also don’t mind you checking them out before signing a contract.
  • Cash-only sales. Most reputable contractors will take checks or credit cards.
  • The company is from out-of-state. Look at the truck the representative travels in. If it is unmarked or has an out-of-state license plate, be cautious. Even if the representative claims to have a local phone number, scammers can easily buy disposable cell phones to give a local number in the area they are soliciting. Also, don’t be afraid to ask to see their driver’s license.
  • Ask to see registration. Verify it with the Contractors Registration Board.

Before you buy, research every business at If you suspect that you are dealing with a paving scammer, contact your local police departments immediately and then contact the BBB.

1 Comment

Filed under Scam alert

One response to “BBB warns eastern Idaho residents of possible paving problems

  1. Mark Burrows

    I can’t believe the amount of money being paid out in driveway paving. Yes, it does take some effort to pick up some book on how to do the job properly and sit down to study and learn from them. Then it is a matter of doing a dry run by going out and making the proper measurements, adjusting for angle and addressing the curb, if you have one. Then buying the proper tools would be better than renting them, then you have the tools for future repairs if needed. Then buying the materials and renting the equipment to do the job you are spending hundreds, not thousands. The best part is, you have learned a new skill and the pride factor soars.
    Now in situations where you are physically unable to do the job, then it is a matter of gathering friends, relatives, and a few good neighbors and providing the beer and barbeque. You still can supervise the job and make sure it goes to your specifications.
    The only other option is if you must go to a professional, do your home work. Look for recommendations from other people that you know and trust. Ask other people who did their driveway.
    Fly by night guys, may save you a substantial amount of money, but you get substandard results. If the cost is low, there must be a reason why. In the genre of professional labor the pool of professionals are getting weak. The once powerful unions have crumbled and companies will hire anyone off the street while the highly trained journeymen of labor are walking the streets looking for work, but no one will hire them because they are worth more than anyone is willing to pay.
    The high end companies that will hire the journeymen and pay their worth must charge much more because they have better qualified experience, and are willing to go the extra step to provide higher quality materials and equipment.
    So, in other words, if you can’t do the job yourself, your best option is to shell out the top dollar and get the best professionals to come in and do it. There is no middle without risks.

    Mark Burrows.

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