MERRILL, WI. -- The Lincoln County Sheriff's office is warning residents across the area about transient workers, who show up with a promise of cheap labor or services and leave behind a large bill and less than adequate results. "Every summer communities across the state get transient workers that come up and want to do brush clearing, blacktop sealing, or laying of blacktop," said Sheriff's Lieutenant Tim Fischer.
In most of those cases, he says the consumer is left with a larger than expected bill or work that's below standards, and no local contact for the contractor. In some of those cases, Fischer says the workers could pose as a contractor working on a local highway project that has extra blacktop left over. They then offer it to residents on the cheap and can become quite pushy. "If somebody's going to offer you a deal that's way too good to be true, it probably is. If you didn't solicit the services or didn't hire somebody to come do the job, do your research." He says that means getting their name and local references. "If they are legitimate, they won't have any problem given you references."
He says the other way to safeguard yourself is to not rush into any decisions. "People know what blacktop costs and what kind of costs those jobs [come with]. If you didn't solicit the goods and services I would strongly encourage people to not make a rash decision to go ahead with a project of that undertaking without proper research." Fischer adds that it's not uncommon for his office to field several dozen phone calls regarding transient workers each summer, meaning residents all across the state should be on the lookout.