According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are nearly 400,000 reports of fraud and scams each year, with Americans losing an estimated $1.8 billion dollars. Garage door scams are becoming increasingly common, as unscrupulous individuals attempt to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners. There are a few simple steps you can take to avoid being caught in a garage door scam. First, be sure to only work with reputable companies that have been in business for several years. Ask friends and family for recommendations, and check online reviews before scheduling any work. Second, get multiple estimates before making a decision, and be sure to ask detailed questions about the scope of the work to be performed.
Finally, beware of anyone who pressures you into making a decision on the spot or offers a “special” deal that is only available if you act now. By following these simple tips, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of a garage door scam.
How to Avoid Garage Door Scams
Do you need to have your garage door repaired but do not know whom you can trust? We don’t blame you. Shady salespeople are becoming all the more common, showing up to help you and vanishing without a trace when you need to get into contact with them—and it’s not just the garage door industry that’s suffering this, but roofing and storm damage, too.
How to Vet a Garage Door Company
When choosing a company to repair your garage door, make sure you get referrals from friends and family to help you make that choice. Check with the BBB, Yelp, and social media reviews for the company. Make sure they have a physical address, and that that address is legitimate; simply plugging it into a map app on your smartphone can yield some information.
Before you commit to even a favorable-looking company, ask for bids or work estimates so that you can get a feel for their honesty (or lack thereof). Also, ask if there is a charge for them to come out and give you an estimate—there shouldn’t be!
When Garage Door Technician Arrives
Of course, just because a garage door company checks out in theory doesn’t mean they’ll do so in practice. Here are a few things for you to look for when a garage door technician arrives if you want to make sure that they’re legitimate:
● Driving a company vehicle
● Wearing a company badge / uniform
● A competent manner and an obvious wealth of industry knowledge
● An air of courtesy and professionalism
One final thing to look for: that the garage door company technician explains the rationale behind every decision they make. You shouldn’t have to pull teeth, so to speak, to get this sort of information out of them; real, caring professionals are happy to share their expertise, as it helps their clients prevent similar problems from happening in the future.
Red Flag #1: Overzealous Replacements
If a repair technician tells you they will need to replace every last part of the door—or even the garage door in its entirety—you should get a second opinion. As Angi, a site which matches small business to customers, puts it: “It’s highly unusual for every garage door component to wear out at the same time.” If you find yourself being offered a complete package, you may have a simple repair job, but a dishonest repair company may convince you that you need additional service.
Before you commit to a larger project, contact expect. Our technicians will give you an honest and accurate assessment of the service your garage door needs, whether that be garage door repair or replacement.
Red Flag #2: Hidden Fine Print
Before you agree to any garage door repair service guarantee, read the fine print and find out what the warranty covers.
Garage door springs, for example, have an estimated lifespan of 15,000 to 50,000 cycles depending on how much you use your garage door. Will a given guarantee cover the springs for the far end of their lifespan and use? You can also protect yourself from these loopholes by learning a bit more about individual garage door parts—like through our garage door company blog on tracks, for instance.
Make sure the garage door company guarantees their labor as well as the parts they install. If they do not guarantee their labor or parts, they may be using cheaper products that will break more often.
When the Rubber Meets the Road: After you Hire a Garage Door Repair Company
At this point, you should most likely know that the garage door company is a legitimate one that can actually do the repairs they claim—but that doesn’t mean that they should be excluded from ethical business practices! You’ll still need to keep your eyes open, though outstanding garage door repair companies will automatically dot their i’s and cross their t’s.
Before Garage Door Repair
Make sure you get a written and detailed list of all parts and labor necessary to complete a garage door repair job. In other words: you’ll want the work broken down, so that you know exactly where each fee and charge came from. Not only does this hold your garage door company accountable for the work that they’ve done, but it also lets you know exactly what has been replaced and repaired, which can help protect you from scams in the future. Remember that first red flag we talked about?
After Garage Door Repair
Make sure you also get a receipt of all replaced parts and work completed. This also ensures garage door repair technician transparency, as you can hold it up alongside the list we talked about in the previous paragraph and make sure everything checks out. If there are discrepancies—which can sometimes occur if a garage door specialist discovers additional repair needs during the process—work should have been temporarily halted so that everyone can understand what’s required going forward.
Finally, never pay for a job until it is complete and you are 100% satisfied with the results. Expect nothing less from a company hired to.