Picking a Garage Door Company – Look out for Scammers
We recommend getting bids from two or three companies. You may be in a hurry to get your door fixed. However, are you prepared to pay $500 – $1,000 for a $150 repair? Getting multiple bids is the best way to avoid scammers.
If you get one bid from a company that focuses on repair, get another bid from a long-established company that does garage door sales and service. In most markets, a second bid alone can reveal a rip-off. You can get these bids over the phone. When the technician arrives, let them know that they must get your permission before exceeding the bid. Don’t be afraid to reject any proposed extra repairs.
Scammers intentionally target repairs because:
- Customers are desperate for a quick fix and won’t get other bids.
- They don’t know the real cost of garage door parts.
- Customers don’t know a necessary repair from a bogus one.
Check the company’s BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org. Go to their Google and Facebook Page. If a company has a bad rating from the BBB, call someone else.Be aware that some A+ ratings from the BBB don’t necessarily indicate a clean company. Some unethical firms have learned to get BBB complaints resolved quickly. A company may have hundreds of angry customers who never thought to file a complaint with the BBB.
Beware of phones answered generically, such as “garage doors” or “door service.” Scammers use this tactic operate under so many names that they can’t even answer their own phones honestly. If a company answers its phone strangely, ask them, “What company is this?” If they balk at this simple, honest question, hang up and call someone else. Beware of the repair specialist.
Beware of Excessive Advertising!
The top position on Google or the first ad in the Yellow Pages does not necessarily indicate a reputable company. In some cases, heavy advertising can actually indicate a disreputable company. The business model of rip-off companies is built on excessive advertising designed to be the first and only technician in your garage. Massive advertising expense is actually a key reason why some companies must charge high prices.
Look closely at the ads for excessive appeals. Beware of promises of many discounts and low prices, same-day service, phony-looking reviews or testimonials, and especially unverifiable claims such as “5 star” or “rated #1.” And watch out for $29 service fees. We see many final invoices with a low $29 service fee. Yet, the total bill exceeds $1,000 packed with exorbitant parts prices and unnecessary repairs.
Many unethical companies operate under several names so they can get more phone calls. They make it difficult for customers to track them down later. Make sure that their name on their Google ad listing matches the name on their website. Check the list of “alternate business names” on the company’s BBB review. If it looks shady, call someone else.
Many scammers operate only with:
- Heavy advertising
- Cell phones
- A pickup truck, but no storefront
Check their address. Does their website list their street address? Sometimes, to give the illusion of being an established business, they publish a phony address. Check out their address on Google Street View to see if it really exists. If not, call somebody else.