For years, there have been investigative reports on TV that go to great lengths to expose scams in the contractor and repair services industry. Over one-third of homeowners worry about fraud when they’re scheduling repairs. At Quality Overhead Door, we want to make sure we do our part to educate our customers of the past, present and future on how to avoid a garage door scam with their next maintenance or service repair.
Scammers seek out vulnerable, unsuspecting customers to try to steal your hard-earned money. As a family-owned business, we treat our customers’ homes with the same respect as our own. We’ve created this guide to help protect you and your family from fraudulent service providers.
Staying vigilant and informed can help you recognize suspicious business practices. These tips will help you identify scammers and shady businesses that may try to take advantage of you. You’ll also find helpful ideas and online resources to make the process of avoiding a scam as easy as possible.
Recognizing the Signs of a Scammer
If scammers dressed like thieves with ski masks and all-black outfits, they would be much easier to identify. Most garage door scammers seem like normal tradespeople. Scammers will impersonate legitimate service providers with convincing stories that could mislead anyone. Once they have your money, they’ll either attempt to perform the work — often with poor results — or disappear entirely.
It’s even more challenging to spot legitimate garage door repair businesses that deceive their customers with unfair prices for parts and repairs. They’ll complete the work and leave you with a hefty bill. Learning to identify the signs of a hustler can help prevent this situation from happening to you.
Homeowners can protect themselves by learning how to spot garage door repair scammers with these red flags:
- Incomplete information: Scammers have a challenging time delivering precise information because their businesses don’t exist. They should know their address, the owner of the company and the best way to contact them without giving it much thought. If they seem hesitant to answer, the business is likely a fraud.
- Strange address: Legitimate garage door repair companies typically operate within a reasonable distance from their physical location. Scammers might tell you their office is far away because they’re using a false address. If the business is real, you should be able to find the office online and visit if you want.
- Missing logos: Most garage door service companies will proudly display their branding wherever they can. Look for consistent branding on their vehicles, uniforms and paperwork. If they have no branding, it could be a scammer trying to go unnoticed.
- Inconsistent names: Scammers often use multiple false names to trick their customers and avoid legal consequences. Check to see if they use the same name on their website, paperwork and advertisements. They might make excuses like they recently changed names or bought another company, but that is often a sign of a scam.
- Unreasonable prices: It’s challenging to estimate a fair price when it’s your first time having your garage door repaired. While exact pricing will vary from one garage door repair company to another, the rates should be within a close range. If the price seems unusually high or low, there may be cause for suspicion. You can search online to compare quotes from other companies. If the company has a hard time explaining its pricing, you should consider looking for another provider.
- Confusing quote: An honest garage door repair company will schedule a visit to inspect your situation and recommend certain repairs. They’ll explain the price of each part and estimate the cost of labor. It might be a scam if the company sends a quote before visiting your property and looking at the door.
- Payment in advance: Professional garage door companies rarely demand payment in advance. If they ask for money before making the repairs, that’s a major red flag. They might take your money and never perform the repairs.
- Cash payments: When you pay someone in cash, there is no proof of the transaction. Scammers can take your money and disappear without a trace. Dishonest businesses might claim that you never paid for their work so they can get away with poor craftsmanship. Steer clear of contractors that only accept cash payments.
Top 9 Ways to Avoid Garage Door Repair Scams
Garage doors are a crucial part of your home, and most families open and close their garage doors multiple times per day. It protects the largest entrance to your home and everything inside. When your garage door malfunctions, you may feel rushed to have it repaired as soon as possible. Flustered and desperate for help, it’s easy to be swindled by the first company that agrees to make the repairs.
Unfortunately, scammers have made it challenging to find trustworthy businesses. Follow these tips to help you avoid garage door repair scams and find a reliable repair company that will do the job right.
1. Search for Members of the International Door Association (IDA)
The IDA is the leading trade association representing professional garage door dealers. They enforce a strict Code of Business Conduct so consumers can trust their members to operate ethically.
They only accept reputable garage door care professionals. You can find a qualified member of the IDA in your area by using their search tool.
2. Ask Detailed Questions During the First Phone Call
Your first interaction with a potential garage door repair company is a crucial opportunity to search for signs of fraud. Scammers are often cunning storytellers with deceiving answers that are tempting to believe. If you ask the right questions, their web of lies will quickly start to unravel.
When you call the company for the first time, listen carefully to how they answer the following questions:
- What is the name of your company?
- What is your address?
- How can I reach you for more information?
Legitimate garage door companies will answer these questions openly and consistently. They want you to know who they are and where to find them. If the company seems hesitant to respond, or their answers are different from their advertising, it’s best to choose another garage door service provider.
3. Do Some Background Research
Protect yourself from hustlers by learning about garage doors. Understanding the different parts and how they function can help you recognize scammers. If your research suggests your garage door needs balanced, and the technician advises replacing the entire system, you’ll realize that they’re trying to rip you off.
4. Receive a Proper Estimate Before Agreeing to the Repairs
A reasonably priced garage door repair may cost over $100 but should not reach the thousands. It helps to research the average cost of repairs online, so you know what to expect. Most companies around the same area will charge similar prices for standard parts and services.
Find a company that offers estimates for the cost of repairs. Ask them for a written statement outlining your project to review and approve. Scrutinize the quote carefully for unexpected charges and unreasonable prices. If their estimate seems shady, request a second opinion from another contractor. Don’t feel pressured to choose the first company that provides a bid. Reviewing multiple offers is a wise strategy to ensure you pay a fair price.
If you sense the technician is using high-pressure sales tactics or trying to sell you additional services that aren’t necessary, consider choosing another garage door repair company.
5. Sign a Contract
Make sure you get everything in writing before the project begins. Ask the garage door repair company to prepare a contract and read it carefully to understand all of the terms. A written contract is advised to show proof of your agreement so you can seek legal action if you feel scammed.
The agreement should include the price of the repairs and the time frame of the project. Both parties must sign the contract to make it valid. Make sure they provide a copy for your records. You should save any paperwork or receipts you receive. You can also take pictures throughout the process to document your work.
6. Review the Online Ratings of Your Repair Technicians
Many watchdog reporters suggest checking a repair technician’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings before approving them to work in your home. There are also many other online review websites available today for reviewing contractors that would work on your garage doors.
In addition to the BBB, we also suggest turning to review sources like:
Be sure to get a variety of consumer feedback on the company’s performance you’re looking to hire. Many of these websites also provide you with alternative service providers if your contractor has negative reviews.
7. Make Sure the Company You Hire Has a Local Business Address
If you’re hiring a repair company online from a site like Angi, HomeAdvisor or Thumbtack, make sure you verify the company’s physical address. Scammers will pretend to have an office far away using a false address. If they’re genuinely a local service provider, they should have a verified business location close to your community. You can verify this information through a series of internet searches or by using a navigation platform like Google Maps to find the address of your service provider.
Most reputable companies have a showroom and will welcome you to visit – this will assure you that you’re working with a real business and not simply a company using a PO Box in your town.
8. Watch the Repair Person Performing the Work
It’s easy to see the craftsmanship of your repair crew by watching them work. A genuine garage door repair technician should have no problem letting you supervise, as long as you keep a respectful distance. You can monitor the repair to make sure nothing is damaged or broken throughout the process. Keeping a set of ears and eyes on a repair person during a service call will increase the likelihood they do an honest repair in an efficient timeframe.
9. Pay After the Repairs Are Completed
Never pay a repair technician until the service is complete. Scammers may take your money and never return or perform sloppy work that isn’t worth the price. Waiting until the repairs are done lets you inspect their craftsmanship. You can also make sure they only charge you for the repairs included in the final estimate. Most legitimate garage door companies request payment after they’ve finished the job.
Signs of a Trustworthy Garage Door Company
While there are scammers trying to make easy money from vulnerable homeowners, there are also many compassionate and trustworthy garage door companies providing high-quality service to their customers. Look for the following signs of legitimate garage door care:
- Positive reviews: The best way to judge a garage door company is by their previous work. Ask your friends and family about which garage door repair companies they use and whether they were happy with the service. You can also find local business reviews online. Some businesses will post their own testimonials. Keep in mind these are curated opinions that they agreed to publish. Choose a service provider with positive reviews and a trustworthy reputation in the community.
- Local showroom: Legitimate businesses will have a physical location nearby. They take pride in their products and services and often display them in a retail space. Find a garage door dealer that encourages customers to visit their office or showroom.
- Consistent branding: Logos and branding help businesses get their name out there and attract more customers. All trustworthy companies will proudly display their logo in as many places as possible. Look for consistent branding on their company vehicle, uniforms, website, social media and paperwork. They might not use it on everything, but it should always look the same.
- IDA member: Many legitimate garage door companies are members of the International Door Association (IDA). The IDA represents the leading garage door repair companies in the industry. They hold their members to high ethical standards. You’re sure to find a trustworthy business if they belong to the IDA.
- Clopay dealer: Search for a garage door repair business that is a Clopay dealer. Scammers that create fake companies have no inventory and won’t show up as a Clopay provider. Genuine Clopay dealers are known for their prompt and professional repair and maintenance services.
What Makes Quality Overhead Door the Right Choice
With Quality Overhead Door, you can trust we’ll get the job done right. We take pride in satisfying our customers with excellent service and high-quality craftsmanship. We repair and replace garage doors, entry doors, storm doors, awnings and fireplaces, and you can count on us for a wide range of home improvement projects. Our showroom is open six days a week to serve our valued customers.
Our team of experienced professionals has been serving families in Ohio and Michigan since 1982. We’ve worked diligently to earn a positive reputation in the local community. We are a master authorized dealer of Clopay garage doors and belong to the IDA. Rely on us for outstanding garage door repairs, maintenance and installation.
Schedule a garage door repair with Quality Overhead Door today.