Consumer group warns of Horry County paver

Tommy Clack

The Better Business Bureau in Conway is warning consumers about an asphalt contractor in Horry County who's been in trouble before with North Carolina authorities.

"We need to be aware of him because of his past," said Kathy Graham with the BBB.

Graham has fielded four complaints on Tommy Edward Clack and his company, Horry County Asphalt. The complaints are similar in nature and allege a fast-talking salesman with a tendency to pressure people into quick buys.

Suzanne Belden got a knock on her door near Longs last Wednesday from Clack -- who told her his name was Tommy Godwin.

"The lies started adding up pretty quickly," Belden said on Monday.

Belden said Clack told her he had just wrapped up some work in the area, that he had extra asphalt, and that he could offer her a good deal. Clack told her he could pave her driveway for $23,500.

Belden said while she and her husband were trying to figure out if the quote was a good deal, Clack already had men in her driveway prepping for the project.

"His (Clack's) guy had a contract in my hand when my husband went into use the telephone. They're like push, push, push."

Belden's husband kept asking questions and said he didn't get a good feeling. And when the paving equipment broke down, the Beldens asked them to leave.

"I don't know if he can do a good job or not. If he can, then he needs to go about it in the proper manner and not be ringing people's door bells, and lying about who he's been working for, lying about why he has asphalt, lying about who he is."

Graham said that's exactly what Clack did for years in North Carolina -- first in Greensboro and then in Wilmington.

"He got kicked out of Greensboro and then he got kicked out of Wilmington. And the North Carolina attorney general said 'you cannot sell any longer in this state.' All he (Clack) did was drive across the border."

Graham pointed out some news articles (here and here) from North Carolina -- one of which said "Clack targets senior citizens - rushing them into contracts, charging them high prices and performing low-quality work."

In North Carolina, the attorney general went after Clack for failing to notify consumers of their right to cancel the contracts within a three-day period. Clack eventually pled guilty, according to media reports, and agreed to begin notifying customers of their rights. One article says Clack paid back one customer at least $50,000.

Another Horry County customer, Sara Quinto, says Clack is doing exactly what he did in North Carolina.

"As soon as he got that contract signed, the guys came rolling in. They were working. I felt like I was trapped, no way out."

Quinto said Clack showed up last Monday to her house which is down a long country road and off the beaten path. Quinto felt pressured to sign a contract and only did so to "get him to go away."

Clack initially said he would charge Quinto $36,000 to pave part of her driveway, but after she told him no, he dropped the price down again. Again it was no, until Clack asked how much Quinto would pay him. She told him $10,000, and they settled on $15,500.

Quinto said she wasn't satisfied with the work and was pressured again to pay up -- despite her saying she wasn't satisfied. When she researched Clack and discovered his past in North Carolina, she stopped payment on the check and hasn't heard back from him.

"I feel like I'm on a mission to notify everybody in Horry County about what's happened."

Belden echoed similar sentiments.

"The old adage is, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Well, it was."

Attempts to reach Tommy Clack were unsuccessful, but a man who answered and said his name was David said they had cleared up any confusion with the BBB on Monday. But Graham said that's not true.

NewsChannel 15 confirmed the Horry County Police Department and the 15th Judicial Circuit Solicitor's Office are aware of Tommy Clack, but no charges have been filed.